Letter: Ulster arms `farce'

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Amid all the hype, are we not entitled to the view that the events of the last 10 weeks in Northern Ireland are no more than the playing out of a political farce which trivialises the real issue - the decommissioning of all arms?

That this now should concern the decommissioning of less than 1 per cent of the total number of guns, and should brush aside the security of half the population, the nationalist community, as though it does not exist, is ludicrous, and a measure of the iniquitous cupidity of the charade.

Even more damning is the fact that the issue was settled long ago within the Good Friday Agreement, which provided a sane, honourable and democratic approach covering all arms.

Because one party has failed to meet its obligations under the agreement and demands, as a precondition, a sectarian decommissioning, we have witnessed the unseemly behaviour of politicians horse trading to accommodate a blundering filibuster.

Sectarian decommissioning is both corrupting and worthless in advancing the cause of peace.

The British government could help by offering now to disarm the RUC, to largely withdraw the Army, and to ban, as in mainland Britain, the 160,000 private guns, held largely by Unionists.

H H GREENWOOD

May Bank, Staffordshire

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