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Sinn Fein leader wants support of pact

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- One of the top leaders in Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein party says that Irish-Americans still have a key role in the peace process.

"In the short term, Irish Americans can keep pressure on the U.S. government to keep the pressure on the British government to implement all of the Good Friday agreement," Martin McGuinness told the Irish-American newspaper, the Irish Echo, in a telephone interview.

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McGuinness said he had been "pleasantly surprised" to find that President Bush supported the Good Friday agreement, which was negotiated with the help of the Clinton administration.

McGuinness said that the Democratic Unionist Party, led by the Rev. Ian Paisley, remains a major stumbling block. The DUP opposed the Good Friday Agreement, which was ratified by voters in 1998, and continues to say that the IRA and Sinn Fein cannot be trusted.

The IRA last week agreed to cease all violent activities.

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