Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin extend condolences to Palestinian People

Gerry Adams LONDON (12 November 2004) -- SINN Féin President Gerry Adams MP has expressed his deep sorrow at the death of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Mr Adams said that the most fitting legacy to President Arafat will be a sovereign Palestinian state.

The Sinn Féin leader has sent his condolences to President Arafat's wife Suha, to his family and to the Palestinian people in a phone call to Ambassador Ali Halimeh in Dublin yesterday morning.

Mr Adams: "Throughout a lifetime in struggle President Yasser Arafat has not only been a father of the Palestinian people he has been an inspiration to people throughout the world as he led the struggle for a sovereign Palestinian state. There is a close affinity and affection between the Irish and Palestinian people and his death this evening will be a cause of much sorrow.

"In recent years I spoke to President Arafat on several occasions and just last month Alex Maskey was in Ramallah meeting with Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekhat.

"The most fitting legacy to President Arafat is for the international community to act immediately to ensure that the Israeli Government remove its troops and illegal settlements from Palestinian lands and a return to the negotiating table.

"I want to extend my deep condolences, on behalf of Sinn Féin, to President Arafat's wife Suha, to his family and to the Palestinian people."

Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, offered his sympathy not only to the family and friends of Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat on his death but to the Palestinian people on the loss of an inspirational and dedicated leader of the Palestinian cause.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Today is a very sad and difficult day for the family and friends of Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat. It is also a very sad and difficult day for the Palestinian people who have lost an inspirational and dedicated leader of the Palestinian cause. I would like to offer my sincere condolences on behalf of the Sinn Féin TDs in Leinster House to his family, friends and comrades and to the Palestinian people.

"Yasser Arafat and his PLO were an inspiration to freedom fighters throughout the world. Their determination and resolve in the face of overwhelming odds gave encouragement to others around the world who were also involved in similar struggles for national self-determination.

"When efforts to secure a lasting peace between the peoples of Palestine and Israel began Yasser Arafat and the PLO were not found wanting. That he didn't live long enough to see the full establishment of a truly independent Palestinian state is regrettable, but his legacy must be built upon and the international community has a crucial role to play in turning his dreams and aspirations and the dreams and aspirations of the Palestinian people in to reality."

Sinn Féin MEPs Bairbre de Brún (six counties) and Mary Lou McDonald (Dublin) have also paid tribute to the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

In a joint statement the Sinn Féin MEPs offered their condolences to the family of President Arafat and the Palestinian people. The MEPs said that the President will be remembered as an "enduring symbol of struggle".

Speaking yesterday the MEPs said: "It was with deep regret that we learnt of the death of President Arafat in Paris this morning, and we want to express our sincere sympathy to the family of President Arafat and the Palestinian people.

"President Arafat was an inspiration to people throughout the world who faced hardship and adversity. He will be rightly remembered as an enduring symbol of struggle."


Workers' Daily, No. 126, November 12, 2004


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