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Annan: seize opportunity of N. Ireland disarmament

Annan urges all sides to ‘seize opportunity’ of Northern Ireland disarmament

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on all sides in the Northern Ireland dispute to seize the “unique opportunity” offered by the decommissioning of weapons by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to advance the 1998 Good Friday agreement laying out a framework for a peaceful and democratic settlement.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the news that a major obstacle to the search for a lasting and sustainable political settlement in Northern Ireland has been removed, with the announcement by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning that the Irish Republican Army (IRA) has completed the decommissioning of its weapons,” a statement issued by his spokesman said.

“This development is a critical step in the IRA’s fulfilment of the commitment it gave on 28 July to pursue its goals henceforth through exclusively peaceful and democratic means. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to seize this unique opportunity to consolidate the Good Friday Agreement,” it added.

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