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Irish Republican Army (IRA) Statement on Arms Inspections, 26 June 2000

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Research: Martin Melaugh
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Full text of Irish Republican Army (IRA) Statement on Arms Inspections, 25 October 2000
The following statement was received from Oglaigh na hÉireann the IRA by An Phoblacht on 25 October 2000.

"The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann is committed to a just and lasting peace.

In recent years we have engaged in an unprecedented series of substantial and historic initiatives to enhance the peace process.

The record shows that we have honoured every commitment we have made.

In this context, and despite the abuse of the peace process by those who persist with the aim of defeating the IRA and Irish republicanism, and the obvious failure of the British government to honour its obligations under the terms of the Good Friday agreement and the commitments made at Hillsborough, the leadership of the IRA has decided:

To honour all the commitments entered into by us and to underpin the peace process. All undertakings by us were premised clearly on the speedy and full implementation of the commitments made by the two governments on 5 May and the commitments made under the Good Friday agreement.

The British government has thus far not honoured its undertakings. Despite this the IRA leadership has decided that the reinspection of a number of arms dumps will be repeated to confirm that our weapons remain secure.

In many ways this reinspection is more important than the first inspection.

We have also decided to resume discussions with the IICD when we are satisfied that the peace process will be advanced by those discussions. On 25 June we re-established contact with the commission. Because the British government has yet to honour its undertakings, we have not resumed discussions with the IICD. Neither have we broken off contact.

These actions announced by us today represent clear and irrefutable evidence of the IRA's commitment to a just and equitable peace settlement.

The significance of these decisions should not be underestimated or undervalued, not least because of developments since another initiative by us resulted in the political institutions being established on 2 December after 18 months of impasse.

Less than three months later the British government suspended these institutions. This was despite the IICD February report which welcomed our belief that the "state of perpetual crisis" can be averted and that the issue of arms can be resolved.

The IICD recognised that the IRA provides no threat to the peace process. It also accepted the importance of the IRA's contribution and support for the process as issues of considerable significance for peace.

The IICD reported that all of this held out the real prospect of an agreement which would enable it to fulfil the substance of its mandate.

Despite the bad faith involved in the British government's suspension of the institutions, within weeks the Sinn Féin leadership put to us and to the two governments ideas that had the potential to overcome this crisis.

Following this on 5 May the British and Irish governments issued a joint letter and a joint statement setting out commitments by the two governments to the full implementation of the Good Friday agreement by June 2000.

The British government publicly and privately committed itself to deal with a range of matters including human rights, equality, justice, demilitarisation and policing.

Our commitment to a just and permanent peace was underlined once again when we announced our initiative of 6 May.

We said that we will initiate a process that will completely and verifiably put IRA arms beyond use. We explained the context for this:

"The full implementation, on a progressive and irreversible basis, by the two governments, especially the British government, of what they have agreed will provide a political context, in an enduring political process, with the potential to remove the causes of conflict and in which Irish republicans and unionists can, as equals, pursue our respective political objectives peacefully."

And importantly we announced that we were prepared to put in place a confidence-building measure to confirm that our weapons remained secure. This was widely welcomed and recognised as a huge and historically unprecedented departure by us.

Finally we committed ourselves to resume contact with the IICD and to further discussions with the commission on the basis of the IRA leadership's commitment to resolving the issue of arms.

On Monday 26 June in a public statement we confirmed that the commitments made by us on 6 May had been fulfilled. At that point the British government had not delivered on its commitments.

Now months later the British government has yet to honour its commitments. The IRA are doing our best to enhance the peace process. This is not our responsibility alone. Others also must play their part.

The political responsibility for advancing the current situation and making progress rests with the two governments, especially the British government."

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