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24 July 2002

Bush Condemns Most Recent Violence in Northern Ireland

(Says political process is "the only valid vehicle for change") (320)
President Bush has condemned the recent violence in Northern Ireland
and says the United States agrees with the United Kingdom and the
Irish Republic that paramilitary groups should be held accountable
"when there is clear, convincing evidence of their use of violence or
preparations for it."
Bush said such groups must end their violent activities and recognize
that the political process is "the only valid vehicle for change."
Following is the text of his statement:
(begin text)
The White House 
Office of the Press Secretary
July 24, 2002
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON NORTHERN IRELAND
I strongly support Prime Minister Tony Blair's statement in the House
of Commons today. The United States joins with his government and the
government of Ireland in holding paramilitary groups in Northern
Ireland accountable when there is clear, convincing evidence of their
use of violence or preparations for it.
The United States strongly backs the Good Friday Agreement as the
blueprint for peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland. Since its
signing four years ago, the Agreement has brought significant gains to
the people of Northern Ireland, and it is a beacon of hope for people
everywhere seeking to overcome histories of violence, terror, and
sectarian strife. It is the responsibility of all parties, including
those associated with paramilitaries and those who are not, to work
together to uphold the Agreement and its institutions.
I condemn the recent violence that has marred the lives of the people
of Northern Ireland, and I commend those political and civic leaders
who have worked to stop it. Paramilitaries must end their violent
activities, cease all preparations for them, and recognize the
political process as the only valid vehicle for change. Those who
cling to the violent ways of the past cannot be allowed to derail
Northern Ireland's progress towards a more peaceful future.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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