Clinton calls for IRA to end its campaign

 

PRESIDENT Clinton yesterday welcomed the announcement by Mr John Major and Mr John Bruton "of a path to negotiations for a just and lasting settlement in Northern Ireland".

"I call on those who have resorted to violence to heed the voice of the people and cease their campaign of terror," he said.

"I want to express my admiration for these two leaders who have shown so much courage and determination in the cause of peace.

He was convinced, the president said, that this was the path to talks supported by the overwhelming majority of the people of Northern Ireland, who had so resoundingly rejected violence and embraced peace.

The process "will lead directly and without preconditions to all party negotiations by June 10th, 1996.

He said "The United States remains fully committed to supporting the search for peace in which the two governments, the parties and the people of Northern Ireland have invested so much. I will remain in close touch with Prime Ministers Major and Bruton, who know they have my full support in their pursuit of peace. We will continue to work with the parties in the same cause.

Senator Edward Kennedy of the Democratic Party, calling for an IRA ceasefire "so that Sinn Fein may participate in these talks," said Today's announcement offers new hope that the peace process is back on track. I am confident that the United States stands ready to assist the parties in any way we can.

Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut, a leading member of the Friends of Ireland in Congress, said "Today the prime ministers of Ireland and the United Kingdom took a dramatic step to breathe new life into the Northern Ireland peace process. I am very encouraged by this promising news and I would urge all the parties to take advantage of this new opportunity to find a lasting solution to a quarter century of sectarian differences.

The British Prime Minister had agreed to accept one of the key recommendations of the Mitchell report, he said, namely to drop his precondition that the IRA decommission prior to the commencement of all party talks. "That is very good news and I extend my personal commendation to Prime Minister Major for his willingness to compromise.

Recent reprehensible actions by the IRA have done nothing but create difficulty in the search for peace. The time has come for the IRA to demonstrate to the world community whether it meant what it said in August 1994 that it is prepared to enter into all inclusive negotiations in order to seek a just and lasting settlement to the conflict, and to respect the outcome of that negotiating process. Obviously the first step in reaffirming that commitment is to reinstate the 17 month ceasefire that ended last month."