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17 September 1998 Edition

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Calls for total demilitarisation

British troops may have left the streets in the Greater Belfast area as a much trumpeted first step in demilitarising the Six Counties but they are still busy in South Armagh and Fermanagh.

South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee spokesperson Toni Carragher has called an immediate halt to the refurbishment and expansion of the military lookout posts and installations in the Forkhill area that started two weeks ago as part of the British Army's supposedly `greening' (environmental) commitments.

After reassurances from US Congressmen Peter King and Richie Neal that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had told them that he could soon start to greatly reduce the level of British troops, particularly in the South Armagh area, Carragher said that Blair now had ``no excuse''. She said, ``we would welcome the total removal of all five joint British Army/RUC barracks together with the removal of the 33 lookout posts that dot our beautiful green countryside.''

Meanwhile over the past week British Army patrols have been stepped up in the Roslea area of Co Fermanagh. Reports also confirm that British soldiers have been seen wearing full battle dress.

``The presence of these troops in full battle gear is in total contradiction to the needs for a demilitarising of the Six Counties,'' said Sinn Fein's Brian McCaffrey.
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