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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
UDA won't be pushed on arms deal
UDA flag
Margaret Ritchie will not extend her decommissioning deadline
The UDA has issued a statement indicating that it will not be pressurised into decommissioning.

The group had been given a deadline to decommission, by Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie.

She had threatened to withdraw 1.2m funding for a loyalist project unless the organisation began decommissioning by 8 October.

The UDA, however, said it has agreed its own timetable for decommissioning with its members.

Earlier on Friday Ms Ritchie insisted the deadline for UDA weapons decommissioning would stand.

'Extend'

If they failed to do so, she said, she would withdraw 1.2m funding for a project aimed at helping them move away from violence and criminality.

The minister told the UDA they would not get any more time and she would not extend her decommissioning deadline.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Ulster, Ms Ritchie said: "The deadline in respect of UPRG and UDA is very clearly in place, 9 October.

"We will be adhering to that deadline. The ball is in the court of the UDA to deliver that peaceful future that the people of Northern Ireland are yearning for.

"The issue is also one where the people of Northern Ireland are saying to me, 'Stand by your position to ensure that we get this peaceful future'."



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