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Wednesday, April 29, 1998 Published at 19:31 GMT 20:31 UK

ANC peace team meets IRA prisoners
image: [ The ANC are sharing their experiences with political parties in Ireland ]
The ANC are sharing their experiences with political parties in Ireland

A delegation of South African politicians has been visiting IRA prisoners in the Maze Prison.

The team includes government ministers and officials of the African National Congress who were involved in negotiating the end of apartheid in South Africa.

South African minister Valli Moessa says Sinn Fein's invitation does not mean they are taking sides (1'01)
It includes former ANC Secretary General Cyril Ramaphosa and current South African Minister for Constitutional Development Valli Moessa.

The delegation is in Belfast at the invitation of Sinn Fein and will also meet loyalists and will travel to Dublin for public meetings.

[ image: Cyril Ramaphosa: a former senior member of the ANC]
Cyril Ramaphosa: a former senior member of the ANC
Accompanied by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, the delegation met 200 IRA men in the jail.

A spokesman for the ANC said they were not in Ulster to lecture, but suggested there were positive lessons which could be transferred from South Africa to the province.

Members of the ANC team are also due to have talks with Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and David Ervine of the loyalist Progressive Unionist Party.

Prison service inquiry

Meanwhile, it was disclosed on Wednesday that former Conservative Northern Ireland secretary Peter Brooke had a meeting with both republican and loyalist prisoners in the Maze on Tuesday.

Mr Brooke, Chairman of the Northern Ireland select committee, was leading a group of MP's who are carrying out an inquiry into the Prison Service.

The committee also had discussions with prison staff in the Maze and the nearby Maghaberry Prison.

The committee will also hear evidence from the head of the Prison Service in Northern Ireland, lan Shannon, and other senior staff at Westminster.

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