IRISH PEACE PROCESS: COUNTDOWN TO SUCCESS

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Indy Lifestyle Online
8 NOVEMBER:

Peace process talks resume in Belfast. Former US senator George Mitchell returns to put finishing touches to his review of the 18-month-old Good Friday Agreement.

11 NOVEMBER:

Peace process on a knife-edge as 27 Ulster Unionist Assembly members defy their leader, David Trimble, and vote 14-13 against the proposals for a way ahead.

12 NOVEMBER:

Senator Mitchell suspends the review for the weekend to give Mr Trimble time to try to persuade a third of his Assembly party to change their minds and back him.

15 NOVEMBER:

Senator Mitchell says parties now understand one another. General de Chastelain calls on all paramilitary bodies to appoint representatives so decommissioning can be completed by May 2000, as set out in the Agreement.

16 NOVEMBER:

Sinn Fein's president, Gerry Adams, publicly states that disarmament is vital for a lasting political settlement in Northern Ireland. He also signals that the IRA is ready to start handing in weapons. Mr Trimble signals a shift in his hardline stance which should allow Sinn Fein to sit on a power- sharing executive.

17 NOVEMBER:

The IRA formally agrees to appoint a representative to enter discussions with the International Commission on Decommissioning.

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Senator Mitchell leaves Belfast, warning that Unionist dissidents could still wreck the peace process if they oppose Mr Trimble.

19 NOVEMBER:

Peter Mandelson announces that the Northern Ireland Assembly will be convened by the end of the month to nominate ministers for the new executive.

22 NOVEMBER:

Business and Church leaders set to issue statements backing the deal.

27 NOVEMBER:

Crucial Unionist meeting where Mr Trimble needs a majority vote to back the deal.

29 NOVEMBER:

Unionist and Sinn Fein ministers nominated to sit in a coalition cabinet.

2 DECEMBER:

Power due to be devolved from Westminster to Northern Ireland, a power- sharing government to be established and an IRA representative nominated.

22 MAY 2000:

Target date for complete decommissioning.

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