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Fwd: Blair Suspends N. Ireland Elections, Halts Peace Process

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  • Bob Martin
    ... ===== * * Bob Martin * bob-martin@sbcglobal.net * *
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2003
      --- imra@... wrote:
      > Date: Fri, 2 May 2003 02:05:56 -0400
      > From: imra@...
      > To: imra@...
      > Subject: Blair Suspends N. Ireland Elections, Halts Peace Process
      > Blair Suspends N. Ireland Elections, Halts Peace Process
      > By Glenn Frankel
      > Washington Post Foreign Service
      > Friday, May 2, 2003; Page A28
      > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2571-2003May1.html
      > ["So, to those who can sometimes say that the process in the Middle East is
      > hopeless, I say we can look at Northern Ireland and take some hope from
      > that." UK PM Tony Blair
      > "There is such hope here in Northern Ireland that the past can be broken.
      > And the Prime Minister is right when he says that when the peace process is
      > successful here, it will send a really important signal to other parts of
      > the world. It will confirm the fact that people who have a vision for peace
      > can see that vision become a reality.
      > It's the same vision we need to have in the Middle East. It's a hopeful time
      > in the Middle East, as far as I'm concerned."
      > US President George W. Bush
      > joint press conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland April 8, 2003
      > http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/04/20030408.html ]
      > LONDON, May 1 -- Prime Minister Tony Blair today suspended upcoming
      > elections in Northern Ireland, blaming the Irish Republican Army for failing
      > to make a clear declaration that it would end its 30-year war against
      > British rule.
      > The decision, which officials said effectively freezes the Northern Ireland
      > peace process at least until the fall, cancelled voting for a local
      > power-sharing assembly that was to be held May 29. The assembly has been
      > suspended since October following allegations the IRA had been spying on
      > politicians and continuing other paramilitary activities.
      > Blair's announcement was condemned bitterly by leaders of Sinn Fein, the
      > IRA's political wing. They said Blair had sided unfairly with predominately
      > Protestant unionists to help shore up support for David Trimble, a moderate
      > Protestant leader who faces strong opposition within the Unionist community
      > because of his support for the political process. The unionist movement
      > favors keeping Northern Ireland a part of Britain; the predominantly
      > Catholic republican movement favors joining Northern Ireland with the
      > Republic of Ireland to the south.
      > Reflecting the complex political divisions here, Trimble's party welcomed
      > the move as it was condemned by its main Protestant rival, which had hoped
      > to overtake Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party in the next election. Both
      > parties contend the IRA remains a terrorist organization and should not be
      > allowed to participate in the process.
      > Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Britain's partner in seeking political
      > progress in the divided province, said he regretted Blair's move.
      > "Ultimately, I believe that yet another postponement causes more problems
      > for the process than it solves," Ahern said in Dublin.
      > Britain and Ireland, with the support of the Bush administration, have
      > conducted marathon negotiations with leaders of the Protestant and minority
      > Catholic communities for several weeks, seeking to complete a deal that
      > would get the process back on track. They thought they were close to doing
      > so three weeks ago, around the time President Bush visited Belfast and
      > declared Northern Ireland an example of how longstanding conflicts could be
      > peacefully resolved.
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      * Bob Martin
      * bob-martin@...
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