IRA poised to 'end operations'
Hopes were rising last night that the IRA is poised to carry out its biggest act of disarmament yet as Tony Blair and the Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern, flew to Northern Ireland for crucial talks today. Unionists want assurances that the republican war is over before they re-enter a power-sharing coalition. The Provisionals will not give in to demands for total disbandment, but security sources believe they are preparing to mark what will effectively be the end of operations with the destruction of a huge arms cache in the next few weeks. The move hinges on a deal with the government on key issues including demilitarisation, policing and the return of fugitive paramilitaries. Full Story