DUP's Paisley: IRA statement irrelevant

June 15, 2005 at 1:03 PM

LONDON, June 15 (UPI) -- The expected IRA statement on disarmament will be "totally meaningless" without action, Democratic Unionist Party Leader Ian Paisley said Wednesday.

He was speaking after "brutally frank" talks in London with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, where he told the Taioseach not to put his "dirty hands" on the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.

Ahern also met British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss the prospect of an IRA statement, anticipated since Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams' April appeal to the paramilitary group to lay down its arms and engage in the political process.

But Paisley said: "Everybody has their tongues out waiting for a statement from the IRA.

"We haven't our tongues out. What the IRA says is totally meaningless except we have actions."

Should the IRA agree to disarm, there would be no "overnight settlement" but a period of verification would be required, Paisley added.

A Downing Street spokesman said after Blair's talks with Ahern that both governments continued to wait for the IRA statement.

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