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N. Irish parties denounce UK bomb

The scene remains cordoned off
The scene remains cordoned off  


LONDON, England (CNN) -- Parties on both sides of the political divide in Northern Ireland have condemned a car bomb in west London in which seven people were injured.

The 40kg device, which was left near Ealing Broadway underground station, is being blamed on the dissident Real IRA, although no one has claimed responsibility.

Politicians said the bombing was an attempt to kill off the faltering Good Friday peace agreement.

Gerry Adams, president of the republican political party Sinn Fein, expressed his sympathies to those injured in the bomb blast.

Speaking after a meeting of his party's executive at a hotel in County Louth, he said: "I want to reassure everyone that Sinn Fein is resolutely opposed to those actions and I want to call upon those involved in those actions to stop.

"Any real republican would be involved in trying to build upon the opportunities for peace and justice which are part of this (peace) process."

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"This is the past, this is what we are trying to get away from," said Michael McGimpsey of the Protestant pro-British Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

McGimpsey, a minister in Northern Ireland's crumbling ruling coalition of majority Protestant and minority Roman Catholic parties, told Reuters: "It is very difficult -- it is true the (peace) process is in some difficulties at the moment but we will continue to strive to get where want to go."

In Belfast, the UUP and other groups met separately with Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid to hear details of the new plans to settle the vexed issue of policing reforms.

Britain and Ireland have given the province's parties until Monday to say whether they back their joint formula for reviving the stalled 1998 Good Friday Agreement, designed to replace armed conflict with power-sharing between the communities.

Friday's bomb went off at Ealing Broadway in the early hours. Of the seven people taken to hospital, none have life-threatening injuries.

The IRA is observing a ceasefire after 30 years of fighting between Catholics and Protestants.

But splinter groups like the Real IRA oppose a 1998 peace deal and tend to choose important moments in the peace process to launch spectacular attacks in Northern Ireland and on mainland Britain.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was informed of the blast while on his official visit to Mexico.

A spokesman said: "His sympathy is with the injured but he believes that the way forward in Northern Ireland can only be through dialogue and that is why the government has put forward its proposals this week and hopes people will consider them in a calm and considered way."






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