'We sued for peace; the British wanted war'

IRA vows 25 more years of war unless Britain offers new deal

March 6, 1996
Web posted at: 11 p.m. EST (0400 GMT)

From Correspondent Rob Reynolds

Sinn Fein

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said Wednesday that the Irish Republican Army is ready to make war for another 25 years unless Britain offers a new peace deal in Northern Ireland.

In an article published in the New York-based newspaper Irish Voice, Adams, who heads the political wing of the IRA, gave details of a meeting held with top IRA commanders last week. He quoted an IRA member as saying, "We sued for peace, the British wanted war. If that's what they want, we'll give them another 25 years of war."

The IRA broke a 17-month cease-fire last month with two bombs in the heart of London that killed three people.

Adam's article did not address the IRA's response to the June 10 start date for all-party talks, announced by the British and Irish prime ministers last week.

But, Adams wrote, "They (IRA) made it clear that while the cessation is ended, they would be happy to restore it" if what he called a "viable alternative" were proposed.

"A new deal is required," Adams concluded.


Unionist politicians met Wednesday with British ministers to discuss options for an election to a peace assembly to be formed before all-party talks begin.

"I think all forms of elections are under discussion at the moment," said Ian Paisley with the Democratic Unionist Party.

Sinn Fein is barred from direct participation in the consultations and all other high-level government contact until the IRA cease-fire is restored.

IRA asks loyalists to hold fire

In a statement released Tuesday night, the Irish Republican Army asked its Protestant "loyalist" foes maintain the cease-fire.

The IRA statement asked the two main loyalist groups not to attack Catholic areas.

A loyalist leader Wednesday called the statement "patronizing." "The suggestion that the IRA destroy a peace and then demand that the loyalists maintain their cease-fire is frankly ridiculous," said David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party, whose party is linked to the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force.

However, Ervine said that the main loyalist groups' cease-fire would hold.

The loyalist Ulster Defense Association and Ulster Volunteer Force called a truce in October 1994, six weeks after the IRA did so. The groups have held their fire despite IRA attacks.

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