Northern Ireland peace talks resume
September 6, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT)
BELFAST (CNN) -- Peace talks for Northern Ireland
resume Monday amid new tensions in the streets of
Gerry Adams, president of the IRA's political wing,
Sinn Fein, threw his weight Friday behind a growing
Catholic boycott of stores owned by Protestant
Orange Order activists.
"If any Catholics, in a very democratic and peaceful
way, decide not to do business with Orange businesses
until that person is prepared to come to an
accommodation with them, that is entirely legitimate,"
Adams, whose party shares the IRA goal of an end to
British rule and reunification with Ireland, said he
was against the indiscriminate boycotting of
Protestant businesses but backed sanctions against the
Orange Order and its members.
The boycott is fallout from a summer of violence
caused by the reversal of a police ban that allowed an
Orange Order parade through the Catholic Garvaghy Road
area of Portadown. The move angered Catholics.
Protestants held the summer marches to celebrate a
17th century victory over Catholic forces, and
Catholics see the marches as an affront.
Then there is feuding among Protestant "Loyalist"
militias, including a death issued by a paramilitary
group against wayward militant Billy Wright.
These problems could make the achievement of another
cease-fire or other objective more difficult -- or it
could spur the parties to more seriously pursue a
"These talks present all the parties with a stark
choice," political analyst Conor Gearty said. "They
can either compound the problems of August with
powerful, extremist rhetoric and, as it were, jettison
the whole prospects ... Or they can say, look, things
were pretty close to the abyss in August and we need
to do something."
"It feeds into that ancient suspicion that it's a
Protestant state for a Protestant people ... and if
they don't have their way, nobody will."
The British and Irish governments say they're
determined to instill momentum into the talks, which
will be mediated by President Clinton's envoy, former
U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.
The IRA is excluded from the meetings because the
group broke a 17-month truce earlier this year.
Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring said Thursday he
also expected the main Protestant Unionist parties,
who want the province to remain British, to demand the
exclusion from the Belfast talks of smaller unionist
parties allied with the loyalist paramilitaries.
"We have always said we wanted inclusive negotiating,
but I understand formal complaints will be issued on
Monday morning, and these will have to be discussed
and dealt with," Northern Ireland Secretary Patrick
Prior talks have been bogged down over bureaucratic
wrangling. The question is whether this summer's
violence will crystallize the desire for peace or is
merely a sign of what's to come.
From CNN Correspondent Siobhan Darrow in London and Reuters contributed to this report.
- Some skirmishes in Northern Ireland, but marches pass mostly peaceful
- August 11, 1996
- Tense weekend of rival marches begins in Northern Ireland - August 9, 1996
- British troops block Protestant march in Northern Ireland - August 7, 1996
- Northern Irish talks adjourn, deadlocked on arms - July 29, 1996
- Rioting in Northern Ireland breaks fragile calm - Jul 20, 1996
- British, Irish officials discussing Northern Ireland - July 18, 1996
- Talks in three cities on ending crisis in Northern Ireland - July 17, 1996
- Northern Ireland talks resume despite protests - July 17, 1996
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