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  New ceasefire announced in Northern Ireland
Updated 22 February 2003, 18.13
A new ceasefire has been called in Northern Ireland
Two paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have said they will stop violence for 12 months.

The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) and Ulster Defence Association (UDA) also said they would start talking about making their weapons unusable, called decommissioning.

However they did add that they would only consider getting rid of all their weapons if the Republicans did so before them.

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has decommissioned weapons in the past, but even so is still thought to have lots left.

The Northern Ireland secretary Paul Murphy said the move from the UFF and UDA was a "step in the right direction".

The two groups who made the announcement are Unionist, which means they want Northern Ireland to stay part of the United Kingdom.

The Republicans, also called Nationalists, want Northern Ireland to join Ireland to become one united country.

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