Ceasefire: The foreign view

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The Independent Online
THE UNITED States will have a large and, one hopes, constructive role to play in any successful conclusion to Northern Ireland's 'troubles'. The financial and moral support of Irish- Americans for the IRA has been a key factor in keeping the Ulster pot stirred. Perhaps now that support can be used to encourage more peaceful means.

Houston Chronicle, US

THERE must be some kind of secret agreement - a sort of British Oslo accord . . . It must be an agreement in principle between Major's Conservative government and southern Ireland's government, and you can make comparisons (with the Middle East). The Irish underground is the PLO fighting Britain - a terror organisation for national freedom, a body composed of a military wing and a political base, which sees itself as representative of an oppressed minority in the north and as brethren to neighbours who are a majority, a kind of Catholic Jordan, in free Ireland.

Yediot Ahranot, Israel

THE GUNMEN of the Protestant North, who have consistently outfought the IRA and wield a veto over any peace proposal, were keeping silent (on Wednesday) beyond a statement by their guru, Rev Ian Paisley, denouncing the 'Jesuitical' wording of the IRA declaration. Besides its anti- Catholic tone, this remark reflected an awareness that the IRA did not permanently renounce violence.

The Boston Globe, US

IT IS, above all, a victory for John Major, the most unpopular English Prime Minister in history, and for Bill Clinton, the Democrat President, who on foreign policy questions has till now gathered more failures than successes. On the eve of the Pope's trip to Sarajevo, the ceasefire in Northern Ireland can be read as auspicious.

La Repubblica, Italy

IT IS not difficult to reactivate the spiral of violence and revenge in this mistreated corner of the Irish island. It is very possible that some republicans and Catholics want the Unionists to give them an excuse to return to terror and self-pity, a way of life in which several generations have now grown up. It is easier to live on the myth of victimisation than it is to rebuild a country which lacks any sense of normality, civil society, professional structure or investment.

El Pais, Spain

THE PEACE process is threatened by Unionist extremists trying to provoke the IRA, driven to terror out of fear for an insecure future. That is why it is crucial that the Protestants - who until now have hardly participated in the process - should take part in negotiations about an enduring settlement. Considering the deep distrust in Ulster, these talks will be hard and painful.

Het Parool, Netherlands

MR MAJOR desperately needs to make his Irish policy work in order to regain political popularity at home. One thing he can and should do immediately is lift his country's media ban on Sinn Fein and bring the peace process properly into the open.

The Australian

NORTHERN IRELAND has never looked less like an inalienable possession of the British crown.

Liberation, France