The Sinn Féin President has described the proposed appointment of an IRA representative to enter into discussions with the De Chastelain Commission as "another demonstration of its courage and discipline and a sign of its willingness to enhance the search for a democratic peace settlement." Gerry Adams was speaking this evening at a meeting of his party's Ard Comhairle and regional leadership.

He said that this initiative by the army was secured as a result of the collective efforts of Sinn Féin, the two governments and David Trimble. He said "no-one should underestimate the effort which this initiative involved and I know that all the delegates at this evenings meeting are very conscious of the wobbles, worries and concerns which are now opened up within Republican activism."

He said that there was great brouhaha last week over remarks attributed to Pat Doherty and Martin Ferris. He told the gathering, "let me say to those who may not know Pat Doherty and Martin Ferris that there would not have been a Sinn Féin peace strategy, and consequently there would not now be a peace process, if it wasn't for the commitment and support of their endeavours to bring this about."

Mr. Adams went on to say that there have been no secret deals made and that the party's immediate goal is to, "forge a partnership with Unionism that will see us labour together within the new institutions and govern in fairness and in honesty with justice and equality." Unionists, he said, have nothing to fear from sharing power with Republicans.