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DATE=4/1/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-247518 TITLE=NORTHERN IRELAND (L) BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=LONDON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: NORTHERN IRELAND'S CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT NEGOTIATORS HAVE ADJOURNED THEIR TALKS UNTIL APRIL 13TH TO FINALIZE A COMPROMISE THAT WOULD BREAK THE IMPASSE OVER WEAPONS DECOMMISSIONING. AS V-O-A CORRESPONDENT LAURIE KASSMAN REPORTS FROM LONDON, THE DISPUTE HAS BEEN HOLDING UP BRITAIN'S TRANSFER OF HOME-RULE POWERS, WHICH WAS DUE ON FRIDAY. TEXT: BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR SAYS BOTH SIDES NEED WHAT HE CALLS A PAUSE FOR REFLECTION BEFORE THEY GIVE THEIR FINAL APPROVAL TO THE JOINT DECLARATION HE AND IRISH PRIME MINISTER BERTIE AHERN HAVE PUT FORTH. THE PROPOSAL SETS A TIMETABLE FOR SETTING UP THE NEW NORTHERN IRELAND GOVERNMENT AND FOR A VOLUNTARY HANDOVER OF WEAPONS BY PARAMILITARY GROUPS ONE MONTH AFTER THAT. /// BLAIR ACT /// A COLLECTIVE ACT OF RECONCILIATION WILL TAKE PLACE WHICH WILL SEE ARMS PUT BEYOND USE ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS IN A MANNER VERIFIED BY THE INTERNATIONAL, INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON DECOMMISSIONING. /// END ACT /// IF THE PROPOSED TIMETABLE GOES AHEAD WITHOUT PROBLEMS, THEN HOME RULE POWERS WILL BE FULLY TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW GOVERNMENT IN BELFAST. THE POLITICAL WING OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC ARMY, SINN FEIN, HAS ISSUED A STATEMENT EXPRESSING ITS DISAPPOINTMENT THAT A FINAL AGREEMENT HAS NOT BEEN REACHED. THE DISPUTE HAS FOCUSSED ON THE TIMING OF THE I-R-A DISARMING AND THE PARTICIPATION OF SINN FEIN IN THE NEW GOVERNMENT. NORTHERN IRELAND'S PROTESTANT FIRST MINISTER, DAVID TRIMBLE, HAS REFUSED TO LET SINN FEIN JOIN THE NEW CABINET BEFORE THE I-R-A STARTS HANDING OVER ITS WEAPONS. BUT SINN FEIN LEADER GERRY ADAMS INSISTS THE GOOD FRIDAY PEACE AGREEMENT HAS NO SUCH PRE-CONDITIONS. MR. BLAIR SAYS THE NEW PROPOSAL HAS NO PRE-CONDITIONS BUT DOES CALL FOR GESTURES OF GOODWILL FROM BOTH SIDES. /// BLAIR ACT /// THE DECLARATION STATES TOO THAT WHILE THERE IS NO PRE-CONDITION TO DECOMMISSION, THERE IS AN OBLIGATION TO DECOMMISSION. /// END ACT /// THE PROPOSAL NOW OFFERED BY THE BRITISH AND IRISH PRIME MINISTERS SETS A TIMETABLE FOR APPOINTING NEW MINISTERS IN NORTHERN IRELAND AND TRANSFERRING SOME POWERS. BUT IT DOES NOT AUTHORIZE A FULL POWER TRANSFER UNTIL THE I-R-A AND OTHER PARA-MILITARIES MAKE THEIR FIRST STEPS IN THE DECOMMISSIONING PROCESS. BOTH SIDES ARE DUE BACK AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE ON APRIL 13TH TO GIVE THEIR FINAL APPROVAL. (SIGNED) NEB/LMK/JWH 01-Apr-99 10:53 AM EST (1553 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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