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12 August 1999 Edition

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IRA says cessation is intact

An IRA statement released on Friday, 6 August, confirmed that the IRA cessation, in place since July 1997, is still intact.

The full text of the IRA statement reads:

``Following recent media reports of an alleged arms importation operation from the USA, a preliminary investigation has been concluded by Oglaigh na hÉireann.

``The Army Council has not sanctioned any arms importation operation.

``There has also been speculation about the recent killing of Charles Bennett. Let us emphasise that there have been no breaches of the IRA cessation, which remains intact.''

Welcoming the IRA statement, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said: ``It should end speculation about the status of the IRA's cessation. The challenge remains for all of us in political leadership, but especially those of us who want a better future, to oppose the rejectionists and the wreckers.

``Our focus must continue to be on building on the opportunities created by the IRA cessation. This means all political leaderships facing up to our responsibilities. The politicians must not let the people down.''

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the family of the late Charles Bennett, in a statement released through their solicitor, accused ``certain political parties'' of using his death as a ``political football'' in order to undermine and destroy the peace process.

The family stressed their support for the peace process.

``It is of note that whilst using Charles' death in this way, none of the particular parties have offered their condolences or sympathy to the Bennett family,'' the family statement concluded.
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