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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
IRA arms statement in full
The statement as taken down by the BBC in Belfast
This is the full text of the IRA's statement announcing that is has made an unprecendented move to dispose of weaponry. It is followed by the full text of the de Chastelain report on the decommissioning.

The IRA is committed to our republican objectives and to the establishment of a united Ireland based on justice, equality and freedom.

In August 1994, against a backdrop of lengthy and intensive discussions involving the two governments and others, the leadership of the IRA called a complete cessation of military operations in order to create the dynamic for a peace process.

'Decommissioning' was no part of that. There was no ambiguity about this.

Unfortunately there are those within the British Establishment and the leadership of unionism who are fundamentally opposed to change.

The critical paragraph announcing the beginning of the process
The critical paragraph announcing the beginning of decommissioning
At every opportunity they have used the issue of arms as an excuse to undermine and frustrate progress.

It was for this reason that decommissioning was introduced to the process by the British Government. It has been used since to prevent the changes which a lasting peace requires.

In order to overcome this and to encourage the changes necessary for a lasting peace the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann has taken a number of substantial initiatives.

These include our engagement with the IICD [decommissioning body] and the inspection of a number of arms dumps by the two International Inspectors, Cyril Ramaphosa and Martti Ahtisaari.

No one should doubt the difficulties these initiatives cause for us, our volunteers and our support base.

The Political process is now on the point of collapse.

Such a collapse would certainly and eventually put the overall peace process in jeopardy.

There is a responsibility upon everyone seriously committed to a just peace to do our best to avoid this.

Therefore, in order to save the peace process we have implemented the scheme agreed with the IICD in August.

Our motivation is clear.

This unprecedented move is to save the peace process and to persuade others of our genuine intentions.

Signed: P O'Neill


Almost three hours after the IRA had announced that it had put some arms beyond use, the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning issued a short statement confirming the IRA's move:

On 6 August 2001 the Commission reported that agreement had been reached with the IRA on a method to put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use.

This would be done in such a way as to involve no risk to the public and avoid the possibility of misappropriation by others.

We have now witnessed an event which we regard as significant in which the IRA has put a quantity of arms completely beyond use. The material in question includes arms, ammunition and explosives.

We are satisfied that the arms in question have been dealt with in accordance with the scheme and regulations.

We are also satsified that it would not further the process of putting all arms beyond use were we to provide further details of this event.

We will continue our contact with the IRA representative in pursuit of our mandate.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The IRA's statement

Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
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