Bush to assign special envoy to help peace in NI if elected

 

If Governor George W. Bush is elected President, he will "appoint a special envoy", if necessary, to facilitate peace in Northern Ireland.

The Republican Convention which opened yesterday approved this proposal as part of the section on Northern Ireland in its 73-page platform document.

It also called the Belfast Agreement a "healing document" and urged the "complete implementation" of the Patten Commission's recommendations on police reform.

On the role of Mr Bush if elected, the section says: "The next President will use the prestige and influence of the US to help the parties achieve a lasting peace. If necessary, he will appoint a special envoy to help facilitate the search of lasting peace, justice and reconciliation."

Such an envoy would presumably replace former Democratic senator, Mr George Mitchell, if further US mediation were to be required. The Republicans strongly support the Belfast Agreement and call for "the full and fastest possible implementation of its terms."

The Republican platform also makes a clear pitch for the Irish-American vote by calling for a review of "issues of deportation and extradition arising prior to the accord." This is a reference to the situation of about a dozen former members of the IRA who have sought refuge in the US, mainly the New York area, but have been facing the threat of deportation because they infringed immigration rules.

Under President Clinton, the deportation process was "suspended" but this still leaves the deportees facing an uncertain future.