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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 17:57 GMT 18:57 UK
UVF considers weapons body move
UVF mural
The UVF is considering re-engaging with the decommissiong body
The Ulster Volunteer Force is considering re-engaging with the de Chastelain arms commission, the BBC has learned.

The move is being discussed as part of the UVF's internal consultation over its future.

In January 2003, the paramilitary group suspended all contacts with the decommissioning body.

It is understood it is now considering appointing a representative to speak to the commission.

Billy Hutchinson of the Progressive Unionist Party, a former UVF prisoner, formerly fulfilled this role.

When it suspended its talks with the arms commission in 2003, the PUP said the UVF decision was "confirmation of the degree of dismay within the unionist community".

If it does re-engage with the commission it is unlikely to lead to immediate decommissioning but will begin a process.

The UVF has been under pressure recently to begin decommissioning and end all activities.

Among those calling for the moves have been the Ulster Unionist Party, which has entered into an alliance with the PUP in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning Commission was established in 1997 under chairman General John de Chastelain, of the Canadian army.

In September 2005, General de Chastelain said the IRA had put all of its weapons beyond use.

UUP 'to clarify' links with PUP
15 Aug 06 |  Northern Ireland
UVF pulls out of weapons talks
17 Jan 03 |  Northern Ireland

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