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Irish Republican Army (IRA) Statement, 20 September 2001

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Research: Martin Melaugh
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Full text of Irish Republican Army (IRA) statement on decommissioning
20 September 2001

Published in An Phoblacht/Republican News.

"First of all we wish to extend our sympathy to the people of the United States and especially to the families and friends of the victims of the deplorable attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

On August 8 we confirmed that the IRA leadership had agreed a scheme with the IICD (the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning) to put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use.

This unprecedented IRA initiative was the result of lengthy discussions with the IICD over a long period. It was another expression of our willingness to enhance the peace process and it involved considerable problems for us and for our organisation.

The IRA leadership's ability to speedily and substantially progress the decision was completely undermined by the setting of further preconditions and the outright rejection of the IICD statement by the Ulster Unionist Party leadership. Subsequent actions by the British government including a continued failure to fulfil its commitments, remove the conditions necessary for progress. On August 14 we withdrew our proposal.

However, as an earnest of our willingness to resolve the issue of arms, the IRA leadership wish to confirm that our representative will intensify the engagement with the IICD. This dialogue is within the context of our commitment to deal satisfactorily with the question of arms. It is with a view to accelerating progress towards the comprehensive resolution of this issue.

Progress will be directly influenced by the attitude of other parties to the peace process, including and especially, the British government. The IRA's commitment is without question.

However, as we have said before, peace making and peace keeping is a collective effort. It is our considered view that the Irish peace process can succeed. The continued failure or refusal to sustain the political process and to deliver real and meaningful change has a direct bearing on how this will be accomplished.

The IRA has contributed consistently and in a meaningful way to the creation of a climate which would facilitate the search for a durable settlement. We will continue to do so, including through our engagement with the IICD, particularly at this difficult time, and in the period immediately ahead.

We also wish to state our attitude to the arrests of three Irishmen in Colombia. There has been a lot of ill-founded and mischievous speculation about these arrests and some illconsidered and aggressive comment directed at our organisation.

We wish to make it clear that the Army Council sent no one to Colombia to train or to engage in any military cooperation with any group. The IRA has not interfered in the internal affairs of Colombia and will not so do. The IRA is not a threat to the peace process in Ireland or in Colombia. The three men have asserted their support for the process and we accept that.

P O'Neill, Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, Dublin.

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