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Tuesday, July 13, 1999 Published at 04:06 GMT 05:06 UK

Key events since the Good Friday Agreement

The Search for Peace
The issue of arms decommissioning hangs over the peace process, threatening to destroy it this time as it has in the past.

BBC News Online looks at the main events shaping progress towards implementing the Good Friday Agreement in full, and devolving government to Northern Ireland.

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The UK Government is rushing through legislation aimed at giving the Ulster Unionists, who wish to retain ties with the UK, the "failsafe" guarantees they need to enter into a power-sharing executive with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA.

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The annual Orange Order marches highlight the varying traditions of the two communities living in Northern Ireland and have provided a focal point for sectarian hostility. The attempt to re-route the contentious Drumcree parade in 1998 led to violent clashes and the murder of three Catholic children in an arson attack. Attention focused on the Portadown area again the following year, but Drumcree Sunday passed without serious incident.

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The worst tragedy of the Troubles came shortly after the main paramilitary groups had decided to give peace a chance. The Real IRA killed 29 people and injured hundreds more by planting a car bomb in the centre of the market town of Omagh. The hardline republican group issued misleading warnings that sent people running towards the explosion.

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The hard-bartered Good Friday Agreement received the backing of those on both sides of the Irish border when they had the chance to vote in a referendum. The agreement itself provides for the devolution of the powers of the Secretary of State to Northern Ireland to an Assembly and the establishment of cross-border bodies.

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The issue of arms disposal has prevented the Northern Ireland Assembly getting any further than agreeing an outline plan drawn up by First Minister David Trimble and his deputy Seamus Mallon. But the sight alone of veteran unionist nay-sayer Rev Ian Paisley in the same room as Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams was a truly historic moment.

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In this section

Key events since the Good Friday Agreement

Splinter groups threaten peace

Punishment beatings: A grip of fear

LVF link to Red Hand terrorists

The long search for peace

Two centuries of tradition

Inside the Orange Order

Continuity IRA - the struggle goes on?

Northern Ireland facts and figures

A fond farewell to Northern Ireland

The Good Friday Agreement in full