Letter: Mistrust in Ulster

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Unionists considering their response to the Blair-Ahern peace plan should take time to reflect on how the republican position has changed. They should recognise that republicans can no longer make political gain by killing people or destroying businesses.

To use physical force ever again would mean immediate, world-wide loss of esteem and a return to full-on war with no prisoners taken. Therefore, their only remaining political lever is the timing and modality of decommissioning.

Once republicans start decommissioning they forfeit their strongest leverage. They will not do so until they sufficiently trust Unionists.