IRA to allow further arms inspections

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The Independent Online

The IRA today signalled its continued backing of peace in Northern Ireland by saying it would allow further inspections of its arms dumps.

The IRA today signalled its continued backing of peace in Northern Ireland by saying it would allow further inspections of its arms dumps.

The dormant terrorist group also plans to enter into new talks with General John de Chastelain's decommissioning body - but only if it is sure the cause of peace will be advanced.

In a statement this evening, the Provisionals said: "The record shows that we have honoured every commitment we have made.

"In many ways this re-inspection is more important than the first inspection."

The first inspection by Cyril Ramaphosa and Martti Ahtisaari took place last June, a month after the restoration of the power-sharing executive.

The IRA's pledge came as Prime Minister Tony Blair prepared to hold fresh talks in Belfast tomorrow with First Minister David Trimble, his deputy, Seamus Mallon, and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

No date was announced for the second inspection of the secret dumps, scattered all over Ireland and holding as many as 1,700 weapons and two tons of Semtex explosives.

The Provisionals tonight insisted they had not ended contact with Gen de Chastelain.

The statement said: "Because the British Government has yet to honour its undertakings, we have not resumed discussions with the IICD. Neither have we broken off contact.

"These actions announced by us today represent clear and irrefutable evidence of the IRA's commitment to a just and equitable peace settlement. The significance of these decisions should not be underestimated or undervalued."

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