Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, facing Anglo-Irish isolation after a lethal Irish Republican Army bomb attack, called for new all-party talks Saturday to pull troubled Northern Ireland back from the brink of disaster.
"We are at the moment on the edge of an abyss, and what we have to do is try to steer in a very calm, reflective and even-handed way . . . through this critical point," Adams, head of the IRA's political wing, said on BBC radio.
As a pro-British Protestant truce hung in the balance in the wake of IRA resurgence, Adams condemned British Prime Minister John Major for blocking Sinn Fein from full peace talks.
Britain and Ireland say they will not allow Sinn Fein into talks until the IRA renews a 17-month cease-fire that it broke in February.
The IRA on Monday plunged peace efforts into fresh turmoil by killing a soldier in an attack at army headquarters in Northern Ireland.
The bombing was the IRA's first attack in Northern Ireland for more than two years. Since February it had confined hostilities to a bombing wave in mainland Britain and one attack on a British army camp in Germany.