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DATE=11/8/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=NORTHERN IRELAND (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-255942 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=LONDON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Former U-S Senator and mediator George Mitchell is back in Belfast to wind up his critical review of Northern Ireland's peace process. The key transfer of home rule powers to Northern Ireland has been stalled by a dispute between pro-British Unionists and Republicans. At issue is the timing of disarming the Irish Republican Army paramilitaries. V- O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London. TEXT: Mr. Mitchell has consulted with the British and Irish Prime Ministers and U-S President Bill Clinton after nearly two months of talks with Northern Ireland's political factions. Now he is back in Belfast for a final round of discussions before making his report public. So far, everyone involved in the sensitive negotiations is keeping silent. Britain's top official for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson says nobody can underestimate the complexity of the issues on the table. /// MANDELSON ACT /// What they must agree in the coming days is the very architecture of the new Northern Ireland. /// END ACT /// The plan calls for setting up an executive council to administer Northern Ireland once London transfers home rule powers to it. But Ulster Unionists refuse to let Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, join the all-party council until the I-R-A gives up its weapons. Sinn Fein says the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement has no such precondition. A top Irish newspaper is speculating Mr. Mitchell will produce a formula this week that would break the deadlock and gets the peace process back on track. He has had luck in the past. The former U-S politician helped broker the 1998 agreement that ended Northern Ireland's 30 years of sectarian violence. (SIGNED) NEB/LMK/GE/JO 08-Nov-1999 12:27 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1727 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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