7 June 2001 Edition
IRA confirms talks with IICD
After a senior IRA source confirmed to An Phoblacht last Wednesday 30 May that a third inspection of IRA arms dumps had been carried out by the international arms inspectors, the IRA released a statement on Thursday, 31 May, revealing that an army representative had been involved in ongoing talks with the IICD since March.
The statement from the leadership of Oglaigh na hÉireann read as follows:
``Since 8 March our representative has been involved in an ongoing series of discussions with the Independent, International Commission on Decommissioning, including four meetings.
``This continuing dialogue and the inspections represent clear and irrefutable evidence of the IRA's commitment to a just and equitable peace settlement.
``The IRA leadership has honoured every commitment we have made and will continue to do so. Others should do likewise.
``We reiterate our view that the resolution of the issue of arms is a necessary step in a genuine peace process.''
Blair must deliver
The revelation last week that a further independent inspection of IRA arms dumps has taken place was a timely boost to the peace process, and confirmation, yet again, of the commitment of the IRA to that process.
``The IRA has once again fully honoured its commitments and complied with the terms of our engagement and we are convinced that this co-operation will continue,'' independent inspectors Martti Ahtisaari and Cyril Ramaphosa said.
Even the tone of this statement, from impartial inspectors, indicates the honesty and integrity with which the IRA has honoured its commitment of last May. It is a matter of urgency, in the coming weeks, that the British government begins to do the same.
Tony Blair is likely to secure a second term for his government this week, propelled to power with an increased mandate from the British public.
This will offer the British Prime Minister an ideal opportunity to face down the securocrats in his own establishment who have resisted demilitarisation, and to finally address the blocking tactics of David Trimble and other unionists on such crucial issues as policing.
The IRA has delivered. The ball is in your court, Mr Blair.