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8 April 1999 Edition

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Mitchell's talks experiences

Senator George Mitchell has published details of his experiences during the talks process leading up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The book, titled Making Peace, was published on Thursday 1 April and details the ``shocking'' tactics of Ian Paisley as well as details of possible MI5 involvement in a smear campaign against one of his aides.

Mitchell details his encounters with all the key politicians involved in the Agreement. He recalls his first encounter with the DUP's Ian Paisley at the beginning of the talks in June 1996. Paisley was objecting to Mitchell's position as unelected chairman of the talks. As he entered Stormont he was met by a ``noisy commotion'' involving Paisley, in typical fashion, shouting ``No, No, No''.

Mitchell writes that, ``although I had heard a lot about Paisley and his tactics, this was my first direct exposure to them and it was shocking. I was accustomed to rough-and-tumble political debate, but I'd never experienced anything like this''.

Mitchell also criticised the British security service, who he says were behind a smear campaign that romantically linked one of his aides, Martha Pope, with Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly. He writes of the smear campaign: ``In all my years in politics I have never been involved in anything so despicable''.
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