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Archive for Saturday, September 24, 2005

Sinn Fein: IRA close to full disarmament

September 24, 2005

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— The outlawed Irish Republican Army is ready to dispose of its stockpiled arms in a long-sought peace move, possibly within the next week, Sinn Fein and Irish government leaders said Friday after their first meeting in eight months.

On July 28, after years of diplomatic pressure from the British, Irish and U.S. governments, the IRA announced it had formally renounced violence for political purposes and would disarm fully in cooperation with John de Chastelain, a retired Canadian general.

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, leaders of the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party, spent two hours discussing the still-secret IRA decisions and their consequences with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and senior Cabinet ministers.

McGuinness, who is to travel Tuesday to Washington to seek U.S. political backing for whatever IRA actions are revealed, said Sinn Fein left Ahern in no doubt that "we are on the threshold of something very, very important."

"There is a bright and better future ahead for all of us, and we just hope that everyone will take advantage of what I am convinced is a tremendous opportunity," McGuinness said.

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