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Joint Statement by the British Government and Irish Government, London, 25 June 2004

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Text: British Government and Irish Government ... Page Compiled: Brendan Lynn

Joint Statement by the British Government and Irish Government, following the Politcal Talks at Lancaster House, London, (25 June 2004)


Our discussions today with the Northern Ireland parties were guided by two fundamental objectives: the need to see an end now to all forms of paramilitary activity; and the imperative of restoring as soon as possible a stable and inclusive partnership government in Northern Ireland.

We recognise the constructive spirit in which the parties have approached these discussions and the ongoing Review of the operation of the Agreement. Nevertheless, we believe that the effort to achieve our two objectives needs to be stepped up if those discussions are to be brought to a successful conclusion and the current stalemate ended.

With that in mind, intensive political dialogue, led by the two Governments, will resume at the beginning of September to finalise agreement on all outstanding matters with a view to restoring the full and inclusive operation of the political institutions as soon as possible. Agreement is required on:

  • a definitive and conclusive end to all paramilitary activity;
  • the decommissioning, through the IICD, of all paramilitary weapons, to an early timescale and on a convincing basis;
  • a clear commitment on all sides to the stability of the political institutions and to any changes to their operation agreed within the Review; and
  • support for policing from all sides of the community, and on an agreed framework for the devolution of policing.

We recognise that reaching agreement will not be easy. But we cannot allow matters to drift on. Further delay is not in the interest of the people of Northern Ireland. We are determined that agreement should be reached on these key issues at the latest by the autumn. The Review will resume in September to complete its work. We urged the parties today to maintain their engagement over the summer with a view to advancing progress on these issues and to prepare their respective communities for the substantial steps that will be required in order to reach overall agreement.

Meanwhile, the two Governments remain committed to the continuing implementation of their commitments under the Joint Declaration, including in particular measures to end sectarianism, safeguard rights and to promote equality and reconciliation. The next meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on 7 July will review progress in this area, as well as wider issues.

We believe that the parties understand and accept the responsibility that their electoral mandates have placed on them to resolve the current impasse. This responsibility requires all parties to demonstrate a commitment to reaching the fundamental accommodation we all wish to see. It is critical that Northern Ireland enjoys a summer free from violence and tension on the streets. We hope that all parties will work to ensure that events over the coming months create the right atmosphere for successful talks in the autumn.


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