September 6, 2001

Irish republican leader Adams confirms Cuba trip

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (Reuters) -- Northern Irish republican leader
Gerry Adams confirmed on Thursday that he would go ahead with a trip to
Cuba that could potentially damage his Sinn Fein party's standing in the
United States.

"I have a longstanding commitment to go to Cuba and I intend to go there," Adams
told Reuters at the end of a meeting with reporters in Belfast, where he talked about
tension between Protestants and Roman Catholics at a North Belfast school.

He declined to give further details about the trip or say when it would take place,
saying details would be given out in due time.

There has been widespread speculation that Adams would call off the trip, which the
Cuban government had said he was expected to make sometime in September, after
the arrest of three alleged members of the Irish Republican Army in Colombia on
charges that include training Marxist rebels.

Sinn Fein, of which Adams is president, is the political ally of the IRA and has been
working hard to build up its political standing in Northern Ireland and the Irish
Republic, and to forge stronger ties with the political establishment in the United

The U.S. administration of President George Bush has said it would "raise troubling
questions" if it turned out that the IRA had links to Colombia's FARC rebel group.

    Copyright 2001 Reuters.