A historic offer has been made by Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, which could bring lasting peace to this troubled province.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has requested the IRA to lay down arms, as stipulated in the Good Friday Peace Agreement of 10th April, signed between the British government, the IRA and the Protestant Ulster Unionist Parties.
This is the first time that Sinn Fein has called for disarmament, the main issue threatening the peace process since the Good Friday peace agreement was signed. In this document, the IRA had pledged to decommission its weapons in return for a withdrawal of the British armed forces from the province of Ulster (northern Ireland). This process, however, was never initiated.
Gerry Adams now makes the gesture to save the peace process. “The question of arms must be solved, not only those of the IRA but also the British”, he declared at a conference in Belfast yesterday, surrounded by the 50 most senior members of Sinn Fein.
This act would prevent the resignation of the Unionist Members of the Legislative Assembly in Stormont, the parliament of the province.
The Irish in this way give themselves the chance to settle their disagreements through debate rather than through terrorism and violence.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru LONDON UNITED KINGDOM