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DATE=11/15/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=NORTHERN IRELAND (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-256179 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=LONDON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: In Northern Ireland, former U-S Senator George Mitchell is keeping peace hopes alive with expressions of confidence that Unionists and Republicans will break the deadlock over disarming Irish Republican Army paramilitaries. As V-O-A Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from London, the dispute has prevented the formation of an all-party executive council to administer home rule powers. TEXT: Mr. Mitchell says he is confident both sides will find a way to resolve their disputes over disarming paramilitaries. /// MITCHELL ACT /// I believe the parties now understand each other's concerns and requirements far better than before and are committed to resolving the current impasse. I am increasingly confident that a way will be found to do so. /// END ACT /// The former U-S senator has been working with both sides for the past 11 weeks in a critical review of the peace process aimed at getting it back on track. The dispute has centered on the timing of the I-R-A's handover of weapons. Ulster Unionists say the I-R-A must start disarming before the I-R-A's political wing, Sinn Fein, can join an all-party executive council. Sinn Fein says the 1998 peace agreement has no such precondition. Britain cannot transfer home rule powers until the council is established. Mr. Mitchell says both sides now agree the peacetime institutions should be set up quickly. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams says he is encouraged by Mr. Mitchell's positive assessment /// ADAMS ACT /// This review was established to resolve the crisis in the peace process by ensuring the full implementation of the Good Friday agreement in all its aspects. This is the only context for addressing outstanding issues. In short, this review and the Good Friday agreement are about making politics work. /// END ACT /// Nobody in the closed-door talks is offering details of Mr. Mitchell's suggested formula for breaking the deadlock over disarmament. Media speculation is focussing on a tightly controlled sequencing of the set-up of the all-party council and an I-R-A handover of weapons. Mr. Mitchell has also asked the special independent commission on disarmament to present its final report promptly so that both sides can issue their public reactions. Mr. Mitchell says his final review of the peace process will come after both sides make their views public on Tuesday. (Signed) NEB/LMK/JWH/KL 15-Nov-1999 10:32 AM EDT (15-Nov-1999 1532 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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