As Others See It

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The Independent Online
'Sinn Fein could consider that by agreeing to renounce its sovereignty over the province, Britain is showing weakness and implicitly recognising that violence pays. If, into the bargain, they feel that London is trying to fool them by means of a referendum, some of the 'nationalists' who have been moderate until now, could slip into extremism. Hope is fragile but how can we not salute the courage of those who gave birth to it, John Major and Albert Reynolds?'

Le Monde, French daily

'For the first time in years, the IRA appears to be weary of the bloodshed and ready to talk. Terrorists on the other side, who this year have killed more Catholics than the IRA has killed Protestants, may also relent if the perceived need for retaliation abates . . . This is only the beginning of the end. But it is a fine and promising start.'

The Washington Post

'The joint Anglo-Irish declaration for a durable peace in Ulster follows in the footsteps of the great peace efforts of the last few months, that of Mr Mandela and Mr de Klerk in South Africa, rewarded by the Nobel Prize, and that of Mr Rabin and Mr Arafat in the Middle East. Like them, the attempt at reconciliation undertaken by London and Dublin is the result of a favourable combination of circumstances, the political courage of those involved, and of an irresistible global movement which favours economic prosperity and its corollary, political stability, over the forces of fragmentation.'

Le Soir, Belgian daily