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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 June, 2005, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Ahern hopes IRA statement is soon
The Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has said he hopes the IRA will respond soon to Gerry Adams's appeal for the organisation to abandon its armed struggle.

The IRA has been conducting an internal debate since the Sinn Fein President's call in April for the terror group to "fully embrace a democratic path".

Mr Ahern refused on Thursday to put a timescale on the process.

But he said he hoped it would not be much longer.

There has been speculation that the British and Irish governments would like to see the statement before the Protestant loyal order's marching season in July.

Mr Ahern said of the IRA's internal debate: "I do not know how that is going but we await the outcome.
We're all waiting to see what the next move is
Irish PM Bertie Ahern

He was speaking to the Press Association at Dublin City University.

Mr Ahern added that the Democratic Unionist Party, which came close to agreeing a power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein in December, was also waiting for the IRA's decision.

"I think the DUP's position is they're unlikely to make any pronouncement until they see what unfolds. That's a sensible position in the circumstances.

"We're all waiting to see what the next move is," he said.

Mr Ahern said the Irish and British governments were hoping for some clarity on the IRA's future before the beginning of the marching season on "Drumcree Sunday" on July 10.

"Last year we had a lot of tensions so I would hope that we will be able to manage that to get it into a positive context," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Minister calls for IRA to disband
09 Apr 05 |  Northern Ireland
IRA 'has started internal debate'
26 Apr 05 |  Northern Ireland



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