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NPR's All Things Considered
Broadcast 03/02/2000, Story 11

The british government today began getting ready to suspend northern ireland's new power sharing government the action follows a report by the body overseeing decommissioning of weapons report which concluded that the irish republican army has not begun the process of turning in its weapons interstate at the parliament tonight britain's northern ireland secretary peter mendelson said the current situation is unacceptable

This is a unique case of the aisle way it has to be in the decommissioning is going to happen the commission believes that that conclusion in their forties and fifties and a recent survey data bases for an assessment that the commission will happen remains well founded

They need further evidence to substantiate his conclusion indication of any definite information about any decommissioning will actually stop

Northern ireland secretary peter mendelson n. p. r.'s julie mccarthy joins us now from london to tell us exactly what happened today and what we stand for peace process

Quantico saw today i know is a major tempted by trying to get decommissioning finally rolling of the northern ireland secretary also said a bill to enable him to shut down the assembly will be published tomorrow and it will be debated next week so there's a week here for time

He also had a very clear signal to the i. r. a. that is then that time until the next week they made a certain steps that made significant steps that were turning over their weapons if they demonstrated good faith

That could persuade the decommissioning body to reach the conclusion that progress was real and this legislation would be known to the assembly would continue on and go suspension would do is restore a direct control of northern ireland by london and downing street field is come too far for that so he doesn't have a clever mechanism um it also brings home to the i. r. a.

Eh which incidentally is not the only paramilitary that has altered its weapons

To start acting and singing seriously thinking about the consequences of not cooperating

And what sort of reaction are you noticing there or in the north of ireland ulster to the moon to start getting ready to shut down the government

Well you know it until to the british government doesn't want this peace process collapses and fledgling assembly on to basically go out of business after two months of being in business on most of the major parties to the peace process don't want it either and this was most recently expressed tonight by seamus malin who's the leader of the s. d. l. p. a key partner to the peace accord the system is two months old executive he said the suspension would do serious and maybe lasting damage to this new political dialogue which is beginning to work

Um secondly it would make a obtaining decommissioning immeasurably more difficult if not ultimately impossible and certainly it would place

Late into the hands of those who are opposed to the agreement

And a new power sharing institutions

And then tell us please about the what's going on with the republic of ireland in the south and they've invested quite a bit of the peace process as well

They're young they're very active players in this new drama that's developed today they have very close ties of northern ireland and they don't want this process derailed either they were furious talks between now the irish and british governments on how to see this news was doing it today experiment

Irish prime minister bertie ahern is on his way from dublin to meet with prime minister tony blair in southern england bumbler is traveling or heard has been in constant contact with the republican forces in northern ireland should change gerry adams and the work all day was the only one blair if he himself had clarity

From the republican side of decommissioning know whether there's enough clarity to move forward and drop all the move to suspend the assembly isn't clear but what's clear is that we're at a critical juncture in this issue that has been falling since the start of the question is how much longer can the party's fund decommissioning going to do it

Thank you n. p. r.'s julie mccarthy talking with us from london

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