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Last Updated: Monday, 8 October 2007, 08:22 GMT 09:22 UK
Loyalist warning on UDA arms move
UDA gunman
The UDA said it would decommission in its own time
The deadline for decommissioning of Ulster Defence Association weapons could derail the peace process, a loyalist spokesman has claimed.

The 60-day deadline set by Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie for the beginning of UDA arms decommissioning expires on Tuesday.

Frankie Gallagher, of the Ulster Political Research Group, said her move could lead to a "disastrous place".

Margaret Ritchie has admitted she has come under pressure to compromise.

Pressure on her came after it emerged the UDA had begun "meaningful engagement" with the body that oversees decommissioning.

Weapons

The minister said the final decision on whether to redirect 1.2m from the Conflict Transformation Initiative to other loyalist projects was hers.

The UDA, however, said it was adhering to its own timetable for getting rid of its weapons, despite Tuesday's deadline.

Speaking on BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, Frankie Gallagher from the UPRG, which advises the UDA, said the timing should not be dictated.

"People have gone an extra mile," he said.

"Everybody is trying to double their efforts to maintain the peace process and if this derails the peace process because a minister connects social need with decommissioning, then we are in a disastrous place."

NI Secretary Shaun Woodward said the paramilitaries had begun "meaningful" talks with the decommissioning body.

The funding was intended to help move the UDA away from violence.



SEE ALSO
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