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September 25, 2005

IRA Decommissioning To Be Confirmed Tomorrow

09/25/05 11:34 EST

A report confirming that IRA decommissioning has been
completed is to be given to the British and Irish
governments on Monday.

General John de Chastelain, head of the body overseeing the
disarmament, is then expected to give a news conference
with the two independent witnesses.

It is understood the two churchmen who witnessed the
process were Fr Alex Reid and ex-Methodist president Harold

The IRA announced an end to its armed campaign in July.

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness will travel to
Washington on Tuesday where he is expected to brief Irish
Americans on a breakthrough which he said could be more
significant than the IRA's 1994 ceasefire.

Separate statements are expected from the International
Commission on Decommissioning, two independent church
witnesses; Fr Reid and Rev. Good, Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams and the IRA.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern today said he
was confident the IRA would carry out a full and complete
decommissioning of its arsenal.

In Dublin on Saturday Mr Adams said it was time for
republicans and unionists to work together to overcome
their differences.

The West Belfast MP added to the growing belief that the
paramilitary organisation is on the verge of its second
monumental statement in two months when he addressed a
rally to mark Sinn Fein`s centenary.

He told thousands of supporters: "I believe that the IRA in
the near future is going to honour its commitment to put
its weapons beyond use. Such an announcement will have a
huge impact on the political process. I know it will be
difficult for many republicans. There will be some who are
concerned about the future."

"But I believe that we need to face up to this opportunity
in a positive mood."

Mr Adams told the rally the move would be a huge sea change
not just for republicans but for the entire island of

"I don`t think republicans have absorbed what it is about.
I don`t think the media have absorbed what it is about. I
don`t think our opponents have absorbed what it is about,"
he said.

"But when the IRA delivers, when our opponents and our
enemies no longer have the IRA to use as an excuse, what
are they going to do? Harking back to the old days is
clearly not an option and I suspect that in their heart of
hearts they know that."

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said any the
significance of decommissioning had to be apparent to
everyone in the North.

"People have got to see that there is the biggest dumping
of arms and getting rid of the IRA`s arsenal than ever
before," he said.

Mr Hain said: "It has got to be part of a process where the
IRA, as they promised in their historic statement at the
end of July, deliver action on the ground to close down
paramilitary activity and criminal violence."

He said decommissioning could lead to the resumption of

"When that is clear then I think we should get all the
parties round to start discussing the resumption of self-

Mr Ahern, who met Sinn Fein at Government Buildings last
week, said he was confident the IRA would abandon its

He said: "From everything that I`ve heard and from
everything I`ve understood from our own security services,
the answer to that question is yes."

But he cautioned against the speculation about the timing
of the move.

Mr Ahern said: "I think it`s best that we wait until
General John De Chastelain (head of the International
Commission on Decommissioning) comes forward with his
report, hopefully in the near future and that it`s a clear
report and that it will give the general public and the
wider community in Northern Ireland the confidence to know
that the IRA have in fact gone off the scene and that least
in the nationalist/republican section of the community,
there will be no more paramilitarism."


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