Britain is blocking reconciliation on the island of Ireland by refusing to face up to its role in the violence of the Troubles, Martin McGuinness has said at Westminster.
The senior Sinn Fein figure addressed an audience in Portcullis House at the Houses of Parliament in London after his historic handshake with the Queen in Belfast on Wednesday.
But while he hailed that moment as a vital step in healing relations between Protestants and Catholics, he said efforts to broaden the process of reconciliation were being hampered by the British Government.
Mr McGuinness, a former IRA commander and now deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, said Prime Minister David Cameron had failed to involve himself fully in the efforts to build on the peace process, and accused his government of making "a series of stupid and unhelpful decisions".
The leading republican said: "I genuinely regret every single life that was lost during that conflict and I want every family who lost a loved one to know that your pain is not being ignored and I am willing to work with others to finding a way to deal with our past so that we can complete our journey to true reconciliation."
He added: "National reconciliation will be built on the firm foundation of mutual respect and decisive actions. That is the context within which I met Queen Elizabeth this week.
"It was in a very pointed, deliberate and symbolic way of offering the hand of friendship to unionists through the person of Queen Elizabeth for which many unionists have a deep affinity. It is an offer I hope many will accept in the same spirit it was offered.
"Unfortunately, to date, the British State has refused to even acknowledge its role as a combatant in the conflict. That position is no longer tenable as we move forward. It is insulting to victims of events like Bloody Sunday in my own city when 14 people were killed and it is insulting to people's intelligence.
"It is also excluding the British state from assisting a genuine process of national reconciliation in Ireland. A process which, though embryonic, is nevertheless under way. There are issues that have not been brought to a conclusion, specifically the issue of the legacy of the conflict. The British Government has a big role to play in that."