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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Reaction to UVF statement
The Ulster Volunteer Force has announced that it has renounced violence and will cease to exist as a terrorist organisation.

STATEMENT FROM THE INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION ON DECOMMISSIONING

Without the commission's involvement, action on arms does not meet the requirements of the decommissioning legislation nor the agreement reached by the parties in the Belfast Agreement.

We are ready to meet the UVF representative to discuss how we can work together in dealing with arms.

STATEMENT FROM PRIME MINISTER'S SPOKESMAN

We welcome this announcement but as with statements from other paramilitary groups in the past, we await to see it delivered in action.

What is underlined however, once again, is that the peace process has worked. People can see it working in action and next week's events will underline that further.

STATEMENT FROM THE POLICE SERVICE OF NORTHERN IRELAND

An announcement by any organisation that they intend to cease paramilitary and criminal activity is a positive development.

The police service works tirelessly on a daily basis to create a safer Northern Ireland and we would encourage everyone to fully engage and support the police for the benefit of the whole community.

PETER HAIN, NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY

The statement, committing the UVF and Red Hand Commando to abandoning all paramilitary activity, is a further welcome confirmation that Northern Ireland is emerging into a new and positive era.

The recent IMC report acknowledged that the leadership within loyalism wants to move forward and this is an important manifestation of that.

FRED COBAIN, ULSTER UNIONIST PARTY

The UUP has been working for a long time to see the winding down of loyalist paramilitaries and the disposal of their weapons.

We welcome the decision of the UVF/RHC not to continue as a paramilitary organisation, to fully support the lawful authorities and to condemn criminality

JOHN O'DOWD, SINN FEIN

This is a welcome statement if it signals a recognition of the new political reality where there is no room for armed or violent actions.

People who have been the victim of the UVF campaigns across the north, particularly the sectarian campaigns in places like north Antrim, will want to see an end to their violence on the ground.

DAWN PURVIS, PUP

There has been drastic political change over the last number of years, with new political dynamics forged.

This statement by the UVF/RHC is an assurance that they are prepared to be part of this new Northern Ireland in a constructive manner.

ALBAN MAGINNESS, SDLP

There is a lot of progress here and the UVF has fundamentally taken the big step away from terror and criminality that we all asked them to do.

But arms are not really beyond reach while they are under the sole control of the UVF.

PETER ROBINSON, DUP

The statement by the UVF represents another key step towards a secure and lasting peace in Northern Ireland and is to be welcomed.

It points to the standing down of its organisation as a paramilitary force and we look forward to early evidence of this change on the ground.

STATEMENT FROM FOUR MAIN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES

We welcome today's statement as an important move in the right direction. We applaud the efforts of those involved in moving the organisation into a position where its members can now focus on responsible, constructive participation in civil society.

We particularly welcome the statement of opposition to all criminality and the instruction to members to co-operate fully with the lawful authorities to end criminal activity in our society.

There is an urgent need for constructive community leadership to address the serious deprivation that exists in parts of Northern Ireland. We believe there are excellent opportunities for people with concern for their communities to make a contribution to improve the quality of life of those who have for so long been held back.

However, we express disappointment that weaponry is not being definitively put beyond use. We encourage the organisation to move further and destroy all weapons. We urge others to follow this same path.

RAYMOND MCCORD

Mr McCord's son Raymond Jnr was murdered by the UVF in 1997, and he said he wanted to see all their weapons destroyed.

There's only one reason the UVF are hanging on to the weaponry and that's to keep control of the Protestant areas.

You know, their members are still under orders from the UVF leadership.

The business they've set up, the racketeering and extortion, are still in place. They're a gangster outfit who, unfortunately, are the same religion as me.






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