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Thursday, April 30, 1998 Published at 23:44 GMT 00:44 UK




Nobel nomination for Northern Ireland leaders
image: [ Northern Ireland is still waiting to see if the peace holds ]
Northern Ireland is still waiting to see if the peace holds

The leaders of Northern Ireland's two largest political parties have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the role they played in negotiating the recent peace agreement.


[ image: Trimble: he has won his party's backing for the peace deal]
Trimble: he has won his party's backing for the peace deal
David Trimble, the leader of the Ulster Unionists, and John Hume, the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, are being proposed by Jens-Peter Bonde.

Mr Bonde is the Danish leader of the right-wing European Parliament Europe of Nations group.

"As the leaders of the two largest parties in Northern Ireland, unionist and nationalist, the role of Mr Trimble and Mr Hume in bringing about the Good Friday agreement should be recognised internationally," Mr Bonde said in a statement.

'Considerable contributions'


[ image: Hume: campaigning for a yes vote at the forthcoming referendum on the agreement]
Hume: campaigning for a yes vote at the forthcoming referendum on the agreement
The UK's Shadow Northern Ireland spokesman, Andrew Mackay, stressed it was still early in the implementation of the agreement struck on Good Friday in April and questioned whether the nomination was premature.

However, he said he was happy to acknowledge the positive role played by the two nominees.

"I think that both David Trimble and John Hume made a considerable contribution to the agreement.

"The people of Northern Ireland are fortunate that the leaders of the two main parties are men of such standing.

"I hope and pray that the agreement will stand the test of time. If it does, I think they are extremely worthy candidates.

"I'm delighted people are talking about it, but it's early days."

According to reports, Mr Hume's fellow MEPs in the Socialist group of the European Parliament are also expected to nominate him for the prize.

He has been nominated before but was unsuccessful. At the time he said: "The only prize I want is peace."








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