The Democratic Republic of Congo’s M23 rebel group has declared an end to its 20-month insurgency and said it was ready to pursue a political solution after the army captured its last two strongholds.

Hail the great moderniser

Peter Mandelson's loyalty to Neil Kinnock was based on the leader's passion for reform. As Labour's new director of communications, Mandelson introduced the alien concept of marketing, which would prove so unpopular with the old guard. But, as this extract from Donald Macintyre's biography reveals, by 1987 the leadership had already begun the process of 'pulling teeth' Will a Blair Government ever go to war?

Comment: Trimble, Blair, Mowlam and Ahern should take a gamble on weapons

COLMCILE DOES not seem to like Nick Martin-Clark. I picture him now, bristly and squat, tapping out his furious, semi-literate messages in a state of desperation that this elegant rival might actually win converts. NMC himself, though the name belongs to a supercilious Brit from a Hollywood movie, is never anything but lucid and respectful. As well he might be, since he is a most unwelcome visitor to the republican bulletin board, the place where you go to chat after you've absorbed Gerry Adams's latest missive on the Sinn Fein website.

Letters: Peace in Ireland

Sir: Full-scale arms decommissioning in Northern Ireland is unrealisable. It would be utter folly, and recklessly destabilising, for republicans, loyalists, or state security forces to undertake strategic disarmament at this stage.

Monitor: All the News of the World - International comment on the recent massacres in East Timor

THE INDEPENDENCE movement regards the immediate disarmament and disbanding of civilian militias as an urgent priority, all the more so in the light of the latest events in Maliana. A UN police force should be deployed in East Timor as soon as possible, to monitor and implement a ceasefire and disarmament of both East Timorese armed factions. Unfortunately, in view of the current situation, the establishment of such a force would no longer suffice to guarantee the safety of the population, as these groups are murdering defenceless civilians.

Northern Ireland: Blair confident as Ulster talks adjourn

SINN FEIN and the IRA were told yesterday by the British and Irish governments that an act of republican disarmament will be necessary to secure entry into Northern Ireland's new government.

Leading Article: Words can only be stretched so far in Northern Ireland

THE IRA should disarm but it will not. This is the latest and most irreducible version of the unanswerable Irish Question. The statement by Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, that IRA disarmament is "not deliverable" is not new but, repeated in the week of the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, it is stark. It is a statement on the cusp between truculence and helplessness, speaking volumes of the split personality of the republican movement. Mr Adams pledged himself in the Good Friday Agreement to use his "good offices" and "influence" to secure the decommissioning of terrorist weapons by May next year. That he cannot deliver suggests that the IRA and its political wing are split. And yet everyone knows that they are indivisible - that the lives of the Sinn Fein leaders, let alone their political futures, are at risk if they break with the IRA. Equally, if they broke with the IRA, the Good Friday peace process would be at an end.

`We will fight until our last soldier dies'

WAR RAGES in the hills nearby, but Kosovo's guerrilla leader is relaxed and hospitable. Sitting at home beside his wood-burning stove, Suleyman Selimi is giving his first interview to foreign journalists since being named chief commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) last month.

US bid to end Ulster logjam

PRESIDENT BILL Clinton will use meetings next week with David Trimble and Gerry Adams to try to break the deadlock on peace in Northern Ireland. Though he is unlikely to press the leader of Sinn Fein on arms decommissioning, the President will insist that the "spirit", as well as the letter of the Good Friday accord must be respected.

`Cash to disarm' offer by Britain

OVERSEAS AID could be linked to disarmament in conflict- ridden countries under a radical new policy to be announced by Clare Short, the Secretary of State for International Development, tomorrow.

Kosovo peace talks falter as ethnic Albanians balk at disarmament

AS NEW and fierce fighting broke out in northern Kosovo yesterday, the US piled the pressure on ethnic Albanians to sign up to the proposed peace agreement and save the faltering Rambouillet conference from total collapse.

Mowlam in plea over arms deadlock arms

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday urged David Trimble and Gerry Adams to agree some sort of compromise in a bid to end the paramilitary disarmament deadlock which is threatening the future of the Northern Ireland peace process.

The crying games

Video games, ice cream, chocolate, anything to stop the tantrums. How else can parents cope when their little lambs turn into monsters.

Monday Book;: Foot firmly planted in the air


Cold Call: Sally Chatterton rings the Marquess of Bath

HEREDITARY PEERS aren't having an easy time of it in the House at the moment. One such peer is the Marquess of Bath. He is rumoured to be a colourful, slightly mad chap. Perhaps it is because his days as a peer are numbered, but he was monotone when we spoke. He lives at Longleat, which he uses as a gallery for the display of his "neo-expressionist" art, and which serves as a glamorous backdrop for his polygamist lifestyle - he is alleged to have scores of "intimate friends" or "wifelets", whom he refers to as his family. He might claim that he does this in the name of altruism, but I think he enjoys having it all. However, I was ringing about another aspect of his life.
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