WAR ON TERROR: DECOMMISSIONING: PEACE COUNTDOWN; The long and winding road to arms deal.
THE decommissioning of IRA weapons has dominated Northern Ireland's stop-start political progress since the signing of the multi-party Agreement.
The Good Friday Agreement signed on April 10, 1998 said that resolving the decommissioning issue was "an indispensable part" of the peace process.
All parties to the Agreement - including Sinn Fein members - agreed to use any influence they had to achieve it within two years of being endorsed by referendums north and south of the border.
However, less than three weeks later, on April 30, the IRA said it had no plans to decommission.
The Assembly was elected and met for the first time on July 1 and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble was elected as First Minister and the SDLP's Seamus Mallon as Deputy First Minister.
July 20, 1999: Tony Blair and Irish Premier Bertie Ahern start a review of the peace process.
October 17, 1999: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams calls for "flexibility" on arms issue.
October 18, 1999 - Ulster Unionist hardliners warn they will resist any move from the party's "no guns, no government" policy.
November 16, 1999: UUP and Sinn Fein express mutual desire to set up inclusive executive. Sinn Fein recognise need for decommissioning and devolution to be carried out simultaneously.
November 17, 1999: IRA said it will appoint representative to consult with General John de Chastelain's International Commission on Decommissioning.
November 27, 1999: Ruling Ulster Unionist Council back Trimble entering power-sharing Executive ahead of IRA decommissioning.
November 29, 1999: Power-sharing executive set up including Sinn Fein ministers Martin McGuinness and Bairbre de Brun.
December 2, 1999: Power devolved from London.
January 31, 2000: de Chastelain reported to British and Irish governments there had been no move towards IRA decommissioning.
February 11, 2000: Devolution suspended, direct rule is back.
May 6, 2000: IRA give commitment to engage with decommissioning body.
May 30, 2000: Direct rule ended and devolution resumed.
June 26, 2000: IRA confirms it had re-engaged with decommissioning body and that arms dumps had been seen by de Chastelain's appointed inspectors - Cyril Ramaphosa and Martti Ahtisarri.
October 26, 2000: Second arms inspection confirmed but no contact with IRA since June.
October 28, 2000: David Trimble wins narrow victory to remain in government with Sinn Fein after announcing ban on Sinn Fein ministers attending North-South ministerial meetings.
January 30, 2001: High Court in Belfast ruled Trimble ban on Sinn Fein ministers unlawful as means to pressure IRA to decommission. March 7, 2001: Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern to hold more talks at Hillsborough Castle to resolve political impasse.
March 8, 2001: Hours ahead of the start of talks IRA said it would re-engage with decommissioning body. Talks come to nothing.
May 8, 2001: Trimble drops bombshell he has signed and lodged a post-dated resignation as Northern Ireland First Minister effective on July 1 unless IRA decommission.
May 30, 2001: Announcement there had been a third inspection of IRA arms dumps.
July 1, 2001: Trimble resigns as First Minister because of failure of IRA to decommission.
August 8, 2001: IRA agrees scheme for decommissioning with de Chastelain.
August 10, 2001: 24-hour suspension of Executive.
August 14, 2001: IRA withdraws scheme because of suspension.
September 11, 2001: US terrorist attacks change political landscape.
September 19, 2001: IRA announced it would "intensify" talks with de Chastelain.
October 7, 2001: Reports Martin McGuinness had been appointed IRA Chief of Staff to facilitate decommissioning denied.
October 8, 2001: Trimble to pull UUP ministers out of Executive unless IRA decommission.
October 17, 2001: Trimble announces UUP's three ministers will resign at midnight. DUP's two ministers follow suit.
October 21, 2001: Ulster Secretary John Reid warns time running out for IRA to begin decommissioning if political structures are to be saved.
October 22, 2001: John Reid tells IRA decommissioning would be met with a generous response.
October 23, 2001: IRA said it had begun to decommission weapons.
JOINT EFFORT: Mr Ahern with Tony Blair
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Oct 24, 2001|
|Previous Article:||Voice of The Mirror: Out from shadow of gunmen.|
|Next Article:||WAR ON TERROR: DECOMMISSIONING: Loyalist gunmen refuse to disarm.|