Bruton challenges both sides over Ulster arms

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The Taoiseach, John Bruton, yesterday attempted to shift responsibility for resolving the arms decommissioning crisis on to the paramilitaries, writes Alan Murdoch.

Mr Bruton was speaking in the Dail before meeting loyalists, who claimed his coalition had "caved in" to Sinn Fein in postponing the Anglo-Irish summit two weeks ago.

Faced with a refusal from republicans and loyalists to comply with British demands for an early handover of weapons, Mr Bruton challenged the paramilitaries and the parties connected to them.

He told the Dail the responsibility for resolving difficulties was "not just a matter for the two governments", and said this was also a matter for members of the IRA and the UDA who had to win the confidence of their opponents. He argued that if, as publicly indicated, they were unhappy with the initiatives put forward by the governments, they should come up with their own suggestions.