ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
   africa
   americas
   asianow
   europe
   middle east
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:

 

World - Europe

Northern Ireland parties try to fix fallout from feuds

July 16, 1999
Web posted at: 3:56 p.m. EDT (1956 GMT)

graphic


 

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- Northern Ireland's feuding politicians met with Britain's senior representative Friday in hopes of restoring the process of forming a new Protestant-Catholic administration for the British-ruled province.

"What we have to do, I think, is now have a little space -- a little time to talk to the parties and find out the best way we can move forward," Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam said.

The meetings were a preliminary step toward next week's review of last year's Good Friday accords by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who chaired the 1998 peace talks that led to the agreement, also will join the meeting.

The Good Friday pact is aimed at ending three decades of political and sectarian strife in Northern Ireland. A coalition government was to have assumed power Sunday.

But implementing the agreement has been difficult because of longstanding mistrust between the largely Protestant Unionists -- who favor keeping Northern Ireland part of Britain -- and the mostly Catholic Republicans, who want the province to join the rest of Ireland.

Ahern and Blair expressed hope that a solution can still be found under the agreement's terms.

"People should not allow themselves to be deflected or disheartened," Ahern said.

Unionists holding out for IRA pledge

David Trimble's Ulster Unionists, Northern Ireland's major Protestant party, and two allied parties precipitated the deadlock Thursday, refusing to nominate members to seats in the 12-member Cabinet set up under the Good Friday agreement and which he is supposed to oversee.

Moderate Catholic leader Seamus Mallon, of the Social Democratic Labor Party, resigned his post as deputy first minister in protest, prompting the multi-party administration's collapse.

Trimble's party refused to participate in the government until the Irish Republican Army, which has fought British troops and Unionist paramilitaries for three decades, pledges to give up its arms.

"Our view is that the review should be tightly focused on something -- that is, focused on the key issues that have caused the difficulties, primarily on decommissioning and also on the question of devolution," Trimble said Friday.

But to Gerry Adams, leader of IRA political arm Sinn Fein, the Unionist move confirmed long-held fears among the largely Catholic Irish nationalists that Unionists -- mostly Protestants -- are unwilling to share power.

"There is no such thing as the Unionists ever having it on their own terms again, because whatever is worked out here has to be on the basis that it is acceptable to all sections of our people," Adams said.

Hard-line Unionist leader Ian Paisley, meanwhile, urged that no compromises be made without an IRA disarmament pledge.

"The way that it is to be implemented is that those that use or threaten violence are excluded and prisoners will be kept in unless violence is given up for good," said Paisley, whose Democratic Unionist Party opposed the Good Friday accord.

Correspondent Fionnuala Sweeney contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
Northern Ireland peace accord put on hold
July 15, 1999
Unionists reject Blair concessions for peace plan
July 14, 1999
British Parliament approves N. Ireland 'fail-safe' bill
July 13, 1999
Orange parade stops at police barricade as peace deadline nears
July 12, 1999
Protestant mob taunts army, police in Portadown
July 6, 1999
Blair makes case to save N. Ireland peace process
July 5, 1999
Protestants back down from annual N. Ireland parade fight
July 4, 1999

RELATED SITES:
The Irish News
The Northern Ireland Office
The Irish Government
Sinn Fein Home Page
Ulster Unionist Party
Social Democratic & Labour Party
Britain's Labour Party
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.