Benn calls for UN to send envoy to Ulster

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Indy Politics
TONY BENN last night called for a United Nations envoy to be sent to Northern Ireland at the start of a campaign by the left-wing Labour MP for UN intervention in the fighting in the province.

In a letter to Boutros Boutros- Ghali, the UN Secretary-General, Mr Benn, the MP for Chesterfield, said if a UN peace-keeping force were to be dispatched to Northern Ireland at a later stage, it might be possible to bring British jurisdiction to an end, 'which many people believe represents the only real solution'.

Mr Benn's call came on the eve of today's St Patrick's Day celebrations in the United States, which are to be marked by the first meeting between Albert Reynolds, the Irish Prime Minister, and President Bill Clinton.

The expected appointment of a fact-finding US envoy to Northern Ireland is welcomed today in a cross-party Commons motion tabled by Peter Bottomley, the former Tory Northern Ireland minister, and Harry Barnes, a Labour backbencher.

It says: 'When President Clinton nominates a distinguished American for a fact-find trip there should be a general welcome on the grounds that the more Americans come to Ireland, the better and the more people know about the realities of Ireland, north and south, the better . . .'

Hopes were fading of restarting the inter-party talks on devolved powers for Northern Ireland. Some blame the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party for 'painting itself into a corner' by seeking, as a precondition, the removal of the Irish Republic's constitutional claim to the province. Dick Spring, the Irish foreign secretary, has said articles two and three of the Irish constitution would be on the table.

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