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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Reid bid to halt Belfast rioting
A burnt out van on Tuesday, 4 June, 2002
The rioting left its mark on Lower Newtownards Road
Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid has held talks with loyalists and republicans in an attempt to end the rioting in east Belfast.

Four people were shot during the fourth consecutive night of sectarian violence in the Short Strand area on Monday evening.

Dr Reid held separate talks with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and David Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party which has close links with the Ulster Volunteer Force.

The police have confirmed loyalist and republican paramilitaries were behind the violence, which injured 19 officers.
Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid and security minister Jane Kennedy
Reid is trying to broker peace

A source close to Dr Reid said: "It is clear there is paramilitary involvement in these shootings.

"The secretary of state wanted to talk to parties associated with the various groups.

"He spoke to Mr Adams and Mr Ervine to appeal to them to use whatever influence they could to bring calm to the area and to look for dialogue."

Mr Adams said both Protestant and Catholic families had suffered in the recent explosion of violence.

'Violence must end'

"Wherever the situation started from, it has to stop. I think it is nothing short of a miracle that people have not been killed," he added.

Mr Ervine refused to discuss details of his conversation with Dr Reid, but admitted members of the UVF were involved in the violence.


It is nothing short of a miracle that people have not been killed

Gerry Adams
"The UVF are undoubtedly involved but I am not sure what he means about orchestrating violence."

The PUP leader, who met the Sinn Fein leader last month, vowed to use whatever influence he had to put a stop to the rioting.

He said he would continue to hold dialogue with republicans.

"If we are to avoid the nightmare we have been going through we have got to make this process work."

Every available police officer has been drafted in to help tackle the unrest.

Alan McQuillan, assistant chief constable for Belfast, said: "The rest of my region will pay the price for that in terms of reduced police service, but this has to be the priority to deal with this violence."

'Ceasefire review'

Monday night's trouble involved up to 1,000 people on the Lower Newtownards Road, where Protestants clashed with Catholics living in the adjacent Short Strand area.

Four people, including one policeman, were shot as gunmen opened fire during the rioting.

Two Protestants were wounded by a republican gunman while a bus driver was injured by flying glass after his vehicle came under attack from loyalists in the area.

And a police officer sustained a gunshot wound to his lower leg.

Mr McQuillan said the Ulster Defence Association, Ulster Volunteer Force and the IRA were all driving the violence.

And security minister Jane Kennedy said that the status of the loyalist and republican ceasefires may be reviewed as a result.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kevin Connolly
"People are looking back at what has been some of the worse violence for years"
See also:

04 Jun 02 | N Ireland
04 Jun 02 | N Ireland
02 Jun 02 | N Ireland
17 Jul 01 | N Ireland
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