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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 06:22 GMT 07:22 UK
UVF to clarify future intentions
UVF mural
The UVF declared a ceasefire 13 years ago
The UVF is expected to make a major statement about its future existence.

The loyalist paramilitary group has killed more than 500 people, including the 33 people who died in bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974.

It declared a ceasefire 13 years ago, but since then its members have been blamed for more than 20 murders.

It is understood the government has said any statement must spell an end to all criminal activity and address the issue of decommissioning its weapons.

In recent weeks there has been growing speculation the UVF, which claims to have almost 5,000 members, was preparing to make a significant statement about its intentions.

Dawn Purvis, the leader of the PUP, the UVF's political representatives, met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin last week.

Afterwards, Ms Purvis said loyalist paramilitaries would "not be found wanting" if there was a stable devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Dawn Purvis met Mr Ahern in Dublin
Dawn Purvis met Mr Ahern in Dublin last week

"It is vital that with a new assembly, there is nothing to destabilise it," she said.

"The leadership of the UVF and the Red Hand Command want political stability and accountable democracy in Northern Ireland."

The party has also held talks with Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde and Secretary of State Peter Hain to brief them on what to expect.

In its report in April, the Independent Monitoring Commission said the UVF was not involved in terrorist activity and had tried to address the problem of racial crime during the period under review.

However, it noted that individual members of the organisation were involved in serious crime, mainly for personal gain, including extortion and counterfeiting.

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27 Apr 07 |  Northern Ireland
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25 Apr 07 |  Northern Ireland
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17 Apr 07 |  Northern Ireland

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