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17-11-1999 Taoiseach welcomes IRA statement


Following the latest in a series of positive moves this week, I want to emphasise that it is essential that the momentum be maintained, so that this golden chance to secure the implementation of the Agreement in all its aspects, and the enormous benefits that would flow from this, is grasped to the full.

I very much welcome today’s statement by the IRA and see it as an important new contribution to the process of securing the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The statement’s reiteration of the IRA’s unequivocal commitment to peace, its comments on the significance of the Good Friday Agreement in terms of building a lasting peace, and its acknowledgement of the leadership of Sinn Fein, taken together with the cease-fire over what is now a protracted period, carry very real value at this critical time, as the Mitchell Review draws to a close.

I attach particular significance and importance to the decision of the IRA Leadership, announced in the statement, to appoint a representative to enter into discussions with General de Chastelain and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning following the establishment of the institutions in the Good Friday Agreement. That decision must be viewed against the background of the Interim Report of Senator Mitchell on Monday, and of the Assessment of the Commission on the same day, in which the latter called for the appointment of such authorised representatives and indicated that it would view that development as a significant confidence building measure.