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Thursday, April 30, 1998 Published at 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK

No deal on arms, says IRA
image: [ First direct comment by IRA on Good Friday agreement ]
First direct comment by IRA on Good Friday agreement

The IRA has described the Northern Ireland peace deal as significant, but said it fell short of "presenting a solid basis for a lasting settlement".

Mark Devenport Ireland Correspondent : Statement causes problems for pro-Agreement Unionists (2'48")
And in its first public comment on the deal, the IRA said it would not decommission its weapons immediately.

This was one of the main sticking points in securing the endorsement of unionists for the Good Friday peace agreement, reached by Northern Ireland's political leaders with the British and Irish Governments.

The statement is carried in An Phoblacht/Republican News, the weekly newspaper of the IRA's political allies, Sinn Fein.

The organisation said the statement had been issued after careful consideration of the deal and pledged that they would continue to monitor the situation.

David Trimble Ulster Unionist Party : I regard this as a repudiation by Sinn Fein (4'48")
The statement commended the efforts of Sinn Fein, amid growing indications that the party will endorse the peace package.

"We wish Sinn Fein further success in the development of their peace strategy," said the IRA.

"It remains clear that movement towards a lasting peace is a shared responsibility of all political leaders."

The IRA said voters' attitudes in the May 22 referendums being staged on the peace deal on both sides of the Irish border should be guided in part by their political leaders.

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