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September 26, 2005

IRA Has Destoyed All Arms

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BB 09/26/05 IRA 'Has Destroyed All Its Arms'


IRA 'Has Destroyed All Its Arms'

The IRA has put all of its weapons beyond use, the head of
the arms decommissioning body has said.

General John de Chastelain made the announcement at a news
conference accompanied by the two churchmen who witnessed
the process.

He said the job of IRA disarmament was now complete.
However, unionists are unhappy there has been no
photographic evidence of decommissioning.

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

The republican organisation said it would follow a
democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

General de Chastelain's report confirming that IRA
decommissioning had been completed was given to the British
and Irish governments earlier on Monday.

The churchmen who witnessed the process were Catholic
priest Father Alex Reid and ex-Methodist president Harold

General de Chastelain, Andrew Sens and Tauno Nieminen - the
commissioners of the Independent International Commission
on Decommissioning - have been in Ireland overseeing the
latest round of decommissioning since the beginning of

Unionists earlier reacted with scepticism to the report.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds said decommissioning had to be about
building and instilling confidence in the unionist

It was "absolutely vital" to have photographic evidence of
decommissioning, he told BBC News.

"That has now gone and it is going to be a lot harder, a
lot more difficult and a lot more challenging to get people
to accept that what was agreed last December has been set
aside and now somehow we are asked to proceed as if that
didn't matter."

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said General de
Chastelain's report had needed to be unambiguous.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the British and Irish
governments must now move ahead with implementing the Good
Friday Agreement.

"Trust has been damaged by the IRA's failure to
decommission before now and Sinn Fein's arguments that the
Agreement didn't even require it," he said.

"But the fact is that now it has happened and the evidence
is there - if General de Chastelain's statement is clear
and supporting evidence is clear - then we can take it to
the full."

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said it was a "historic day, not
only for republicans but for everyone else in society".

"I think republicans will be saying today that the onus is
now very clearly on the shoulders of the DUP and both
governments," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/26 12:56:32 GMT

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