Ulster Freedom Fighters in arms talks delay

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The Independent Online

The Ulster Freedom Fighters loyalist paramilitary organisation is to delay appointing a representative to discuss arms decommissioning with General John de Chastelain, a spokesman for the group's political wing said today.

The Ulster Freedom Fighters loyalist paramilitary organisation is to delay appointing a representative to discuss arms decommissioning with General John de Chastelain, a spokesman for the group's political wing said today.

Gary McMichael, leader of the Ulster Democratic Party, said the UFF should appoint an interlocutor to mirror a similar commitment by the IRA towards the handing over of weapons and explosives.

But the UFF decided to wait until the Provisionals' bona fides had been tested in advance of the planned setting up of a powersharing executive involving Sinn Fein.

Mr McMichael said: "They have decided to defer making a decision at all on the issue until they see the actual commitments which republicans have been made being met, and we'll see that in the next week."

The full text of today's statement from the leadership of the UFF said:

"The leadership of the UFF has given consideration to political developments of the past week and recognises the potential for progress.

"However, reported comments from the USA by senior Republicans have cast some doubt upon commitments given by the IRA.

"This has made it necessary for the UFF leadership to defer its decision on the appointment of an interlocutor to liaise with the IICD (Independent International Commission on Decommissioning) until after the IRA has met its commitments in this regard."

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