Virtual talks on Northern Ireland

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The Independent Online
Northern Ireland politics have just collided with virtual reality in the world of on-line communications, generating a flurry of angry messages whizzing through the ether, writes David McKittrick.

In an electronic echo of what has been happening in political talks in Belfast, members of an on-line discussion forum will this weekend discuss ways of keeping a republican sympathiser out of their proceedings.

The group's moderator, journalist and broadcaster Vincent Hanna, is threatening to resign if things are not sorted out. Up to 100 people may take part in Sunday night's electronic conference, which has been called on the issue of support for violence.

They will be able to vote on a motion advocating the exclusion of anyone who advocates or supports the use of violence. Mr Hanna is suggesting that participants should adopt the Mitchell principles - six affirmations of non-violence formulated by talks chairman Senator George Mitchell - as the basis for discussions.

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