The IRA’s political ally Sinn Fein hinted on Saturday the guerrilla group could make a rare public statement soon, as a Monday deadline loomed over efforts to break a deadlock in Northern Ireland’s peace process. London and Dublin say an IRA statement delivered to them two weeks ago was not clear enough, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair has challenged the group to commit itself unambiguously to end all paramilitary activities and to disarm fully. The statement has not been made public so far, but Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, suggested that could be about to change so the people of Northern Ireland could decide for themselves. “It is my view the IRA statement is clear and unambiguous,” McGuinness told BBC radio. “I think when people are appraised of the content of what was in the statement they can make their own judgment and hopefully they will not have too long to wait,” he said. Northern Ireland’s home-rule assembly, centerpiece of the landmark 1998 Good Friday peace agreement for the British province, has not sat since October when it was suspended amid allegations of IRA spying on British ministers. Full Story
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