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EDITIONS
Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 20:09 GMT 21:09 UK
Trimble accused of treachery over arms
Unionists have now returned to work at Stormont
Unionists have now returned to work at Stormont
Ian Paisley has accused Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble of an "act of treachery" in accepting the IRA had put some arms beyond use.

The Democratic Unionist Party leader was speaking on Thursday night after meeting the man who verified the IRA's actions.

General John de Chastelain said on Tuesday he had "witnessed an event which we regard as significant in which the IRA has put a quantity of arms beyond use".

But after meeting General de Chastelain, the head of the decommissioning body, Mr Paisley said there was not a shred of evidence that republicans had destroyed their weapons.

'Charade

He said the general was unable to tell him where the act had taken place, how many weapons were involved and whether it was part of a process of disarmament.

Ian Paisley: No evidence of IRA arms move

"The answers tonight illustrate how far in an act of treachery to the law-abiding citizens, David Trimble is prepared to go to keep the charade of the assembly in place."

Earlier on Thursday Mr Paisley reappointed two ministers to the power-sharing executive after the Ulster Unionist ministers returned to their posts.

The five unionist ministers resigned last week over the failure of the IRA to begin decommissioning.

'Conditional return'

David Trimble also faces difficulties within his own party.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said any return by Ulster Unionists to power-sharing in Northern Ireland should be conditional on further decommissioning.

Mr Donaldson, a critic of the Good Friday Agreement, said the IRA should make clear its intention to proceed to full disarmament by February next year.

He said: "I haven't heard the IRA say any of these things.

Jeffrey Donaldson: Critic of the Good Friday Agreement
"I'm not aware of any unionist having met the IRA and heard these things and I haven't read these commitments in the IRA statement, so I think we do need to hear from the IRA, the UVF, the UDA, that they are going to continue the process of decommissioning towards the objective of complete disarmament.

"The return to government should be conditional upon a commitment to further progress."

Demilitarisation

Meanwhile, work has been continuing on the demolition of two mountaintop lookout posts in Camlough in the republican heartland of south Armagh.

Click here for a map of the key area

The dismantling of a super-sangar (lookout post) at neighbouring Newtownhamilton police station and an army base at Magherafelt, County Londonderry, is also under way.

The progress in the peace process led Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid to pledge a progressive rolling programme of "security normalisation", reducing troop numbers from 13,000 and military installations as the paramilitary threat diminished.

But RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan has warned that although the IRA had come closer than ever before, he could not say the "war is over".

Demilitarisation was a key demand from Sinn Fein during discussions before the breakthrough.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said on Thursday that there needed to be more demilitarisation.

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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Denis Murray in South Armagh
"Watchtowers are amongst the most visible signs of the British Army's presence"
RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan
"This is a step I never thought they would take"
American Senator, George Mitchell
"It only adds to the urgency"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

24 Oct 01 | N Ireland
23 Oct 01 | N Ireland
24 Oct 01 | N Ireland
24 Oct 01 | In Depth
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