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Archive for Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Weapons commission: IRA totally disarmed

September 27, 2005

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— International weapons inspectors backed by Protestant and Catholic clergymen announced the Irish Republican Army's full disarmament Monday, a milestone in Northern Ireland peacemaking that drew skepticism and scorn from the province's Protestant majority.

John de Chastelain, the retired Canadian general who has been working on the issue since 1997, declared that over the past week he had personally inventoried and gotten rid of a mammoth stockpile of IRA weapons, ranging from flame-throwers to surface-to-air missiles.

But the outlawed IRA, which for 12 years resisted British and Protestant demands to disarm, barred the inspectors and the two religious observers from discussing details of what had been surrendered, where it happened and the manner of its disposal.

The IRA-linked Sinn Fein hopes Monday's announcement will help the party's popularity in the neighboring Irish Republic, where it has designs on a place in the next coalition government.

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