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The BBC's David Eades
"I think reaction will come pretty quickly"
 real 56k

BBC NI chief security correspondent, Brian Rowan
There is no advance on the IRA position in this statement - but its timing is signficant
 real 28k

Ulster Unionist arts minister Michael McGimpsey
The IRA statement appears to be an excuse for not delivering its promises
 real 28k

Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly
"It's important the IRA re-iterates the commitments it made last May"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 18:18 GMT
IRA renews arms pledge
IRA weapons seized by security forces
The decommissioning of IRA weapons remains contentious
The IRA has said it is still prepared to put its arms beyond use - but not on British or unionist terms.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the republican paramilitary organisation said it was committed to discussions with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning headed by General John de Chastelain.

The statement said the IRA was prepared to put its weapons "completely and verifiably" beyond use, an offer which it originally made last May.

However, it said this could not happen until the government honoured commitments it gave at that time on policing reforms and demilitarisation.

US President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton: IRA statement comes a week before his visit
"We remain prepared to initiate a process which would completely and verifiably put IRA arms beyond use and to do so in a way to avoid risk to the public, misappropriation by others and ensure maximum public confidence."

The statement stressed that the IRA had honoured the commitments it made in May but accused the British Government of bad faith.

"The political responsibility for advancing the current situation clearly lies with Tony Blair who must honour all commitments.

"The IRA has honoured its commitments and will continue to do so."

While the statement repeated commitments the IRA made in May, the timing will be seen as significant, coming a week before the visit of US President Bill Clinton.


It is important the IRA re-iterated its commitment

Gerry Kelly
Sinn Fein
Ulster Unionist arts minister Michael McGimpsey described the IRA claim it had honoured its commitments as a "travesty of the truth".

"They made a series of promises, they have not actioned those promises, they have not honoured those promises they made to the people of Northern Ireland."

He said the statement was a "form of excuse" and had been issued in anticipation of Mr Clinton's visit.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly said it was important the IRA had reiterated the commitments it had made in May.

Secretary of State Peter Mandelson said claims that progress on demilitarisation had been slow were "not true".

He said "playing the blame game" was not going to get the parties in the peace process anywhere.

Secretary of State Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson: "Blame game will not get process anywhere"
Speaking in Dublin ahead of a meeting with the Republic's Foreign Minister, Mr Mandelson said certainty was required in the areas of decommissioning, demilitarisation, and the institutions.

The UUP led by David Trimble returned to Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive in June after the British and Irish governments put together a package for progressing the Good Friday Agreement, based on the May offer by the IRA.

The Ulster Unionists feel republicans are threatening the process by failing to deliver paramilitary weapons decommissioning, and are imposing sanctions on Sinn Fein, by withholding authority to attend meetings of the North-South Ministerial Council.

However, Sinn Fein feels that the British government has not delivered on its commitments on demilitarisation.

Sinn Fein has also rejected the Police NI Act reforming Northern Ireland policing as an acceptable blueprint for a new police service that would be acceptable to the whole community.

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See also:

05 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Peace process waiting game
03 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Trimble appeal for Clinton support
30 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Clinton may get new peacemaker role
02 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Devolution's turbulent year
02 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
NI policing plan 'being revised'
05 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
IRA statement in full
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