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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
IRA statement 'would be welcomed'
Peter Hain
Peter Hain says he wants the IRA to commit to peace
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has said he would welcome a statement from the IRA on its future.

On Saturday, there were new suggestions that a statement from the IRA could emerge within days.

The organisation has been conducting an "internal debate" since Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams called for it to "embrace democracy".

Mr Hain said it was important the IRA statement made it "clear the only future for them was a peaceful one".

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said there were new indications that the IRA's response could come within days.

He said he understood that discussions were continuing both inside the IRA and between Sinn Fein and both governments.

"There was speculation that the IRA statement could come before the marching season, it didn't, and now there are new suggestions of a significant development within days," he said.

Mr Rowan said that although this meant there could be a statement from the organisation, there was still no certainty at this stage.

"General de Chastelain has been in Ireland for a number of days now and it's my understanding that he intends to stay for a while longer," he added.

General John de Chastelain is head of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

So far he has been present at three IRA acts of decommissioning.

The commission was established in 1997 to oversee the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons in Northern Ireland as part of the peace process.




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