Irish peace talks: A timetable of long and hard bargaining

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The Independent Online
A peace deal in Ulster would be the product of hard bargaining that has taken more than four years:

16 December 1993: Prime Minister John Major and Irish PM Albert Reynolds unveil the Downing Street Accord. It includes a commitment that the people of Northern Ireland will decide their own future.

31 August 1994: IRA calls ceasefire. Loyalists call ceasefire two months later.

9 December: First official meeting between Government officials and Sinn Fein.

17 June: Sinn Fein pulls out of talks with the Government.

30 November: President Clinton shakes hands with Gerry Adams in a Falls Road cafe during visit to Belfast.

9 February 1996: IRA ceasefire ends with bomb in Docklands which kills two people.

10 June: Sinn Fein barred from opening of inter-party talks.

1 May, 1997: Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister.

16 May: Tony Blair visits Ulster and new talks start between government officials and Sinn Fein.

1 July: IRA calls new ceasefire.

9 September: Sinn Fein signs up to the Mitchell Principles of non-violence and enters all party-talks.

17 September: The Ulster Unionist Party joins the talks.

23 September: First meeting in 75 years between Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein.

13 October: Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness meet Tony Blair for the first time at Stormont.

9 December: Adams and McGuinness make their first visit to Downing Street.

27 December: LVF leader Billy Wright is shot dead in the Maze prison by the INLA. In the four weeks that follow seven Catholics and one Protestant are murdered.

17 January 1998: Sinn Fein formally rejects the British and Irish governments' new proposals for a settlement in Northern Ireland.

23 January: Loyalist terror group, the UFF, admits its part in the killing of Catholics leading to calls for its political ally, the UDP, to be thrown out of talks.

26 January: Talks move to London and the UDP is forced to leave.

10 February: Republicans are blamed for a spate of shootings.

20 February: Sinn Fein suspended from the talks for two weeks.

23 March: Sinn Fein returns to the peace talks at Stormont.

1 April: Irish PM Bertie Ahern says there are "large disagreements" with the British government over the powers of cross-border bodies.

6 April: Talks chairman Senator George Mitchell releases his 62-page draft settlement.

7 April: Tony Blair flies to Belfast for last-ditch talks after Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble rejects the framework document.