TITLE=NORTHERN IRELAND (L-ONLY)
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)
08-Nov-1999 12:27 PM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1727 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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