Frantic bid to save peace talks

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The Independent Online
FRANTIC efforts were under way to keep the Northern Ireland peace process alive this weekend as the parties prepared to meet in London for crucial two-day discussions.

The Government is expected to offer a new concession to nationalists this week, by apologising for Bloody Sunday and announcing an inquiry into the event, in which 13 Catholics were shot dead by paratroops during a banned demonstration in Londonderry in 1972.

The British and Irish governments are also being sensitive to loyalist sentiment, refusing to rush into the exclusion from the talks of the Ulster Democratic Party, the group linked to the loyalist paramilitaries who last week admitted recent sectarian murders. The UDP are expected to be at the talks tomorrow at Lancaster House, and the views of the other participants were being canvassed over the weekend.

Under the rules, another party would have to complain formally that the UDP had breached the so-called Mitchell principles of non-violence. Yesterday, the former prime minister, John Major, said that, morally, the UDP should be thrown out of the talks.

The Irish government and the nationalist parties were said to be more concerned with getting into detailed negotiations over Strand II of the talks - the relationship between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Terry, innocent victim: page 5

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