UFF reject IRA arms offer

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The Independent Online

In a blow to the Northern Irish peace process, loyalist paramilitaries dismissed the IRA's offer to put their arms out of use saying that this did not equate to disarmament.

In a blow to the Northern Irish peace process, loyalist paramilitaries dismissed the IRA's offer to put their arms out of use saying that this did not equate to disarmament.

The Ulster Freedom Fighter (UFF) sayt that they are still committed to peace and the process but that ruled out decomissioning their own weapons.

After a leadership meeting today a UFF statement declared: "The UFF does not consider the verification of selected IRA arms dumps as a step it is required to reciprocate."

UFF representatives have held two meetings with General John de Chastelain, head of the international decommissioning body, as part of the government's disarmament process.

More talks are likely and even though the provisionals have pledged to keep their guns and explosives buried for good, the loyalists made it clear today they will make no moves at this stage.

The statement said: "The UFF is not convinced the IRA commitment to put its arms beyond use represents an intention to disarm.

"We retain a concern that uncertainty around this issue will foster instability in any future Northern Ireland government. The bona fides of republican intent on this matter will, however, be established in the course of time. The UFF will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Together with the Ulster Defence Association, the UFF is the largest of the loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland.

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