Adams keeps Sinn Fein out of Belfast talks until he meets Blair

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams signaled Monday he will keep his IRA-allied party out of Northern Ireland’s peace talks until he returns from a fund-raising trip to the United States.
The British and Irish governments, which cosponsor the talks, suspended Sinn Fein for two weeks because of two killings blamed on the Irish Republican Army. They invited the party back into Monday’s session.
But as seven other parties got back to business, Adams said Sinn Fein won’t return until he can meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Spokesmen for Blair’s office said he could not meet with Adams until Thursday. Adams had hoped to travel to New York on Wednesday to start a speaking and fund-raising tour.
But Sinn Fein was preparing to send junior figures instead and to keep Adams and the party’s chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, in London to see Blair.
Adams’ position makes it unlikely that Sinn Fein will take its seats at the negotiating venue — Stormont, the British administrative center for Northern Ireland — until March 23.