Hopes for Easter breakthrough in Northern Ireland - news from ekklesia on theology and politics from a christian perspective

Hopes for Easter breakthrough in Northern Ireland - news from ekklesia on theology and politics from a christian perspective

By staff writers
16 Apr 2003

Hopes for Easter breakthrough in Northern Ireland

-16/4/03

Hopes are growing for a breakthrough at Easter in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Whilst an official deadline of Thursday last week has now passed, reports suggest that the historic significance of Easter means a breakthrough could be secured within days.

One key date in the republican calendar is just two days away and may be used as a symbolic moment by the IRA to signal that the war is finally over.

April 17 was the day of the 1916 Easter Uprising which became the catalyst for the war of independence which led to the creation of the Irish state.

Easter has other precedents in the peace process - the Good Friday Agreement was signed by all the political parties in 1998 and paved the way for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The IRA also used to issue a statement at Easter, so it could use the precedent to make what it will see as a historic gesture towards peace.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister expressed hope that progress could soon be made but said all sides would have to "wait and see".

Speaking on Tuesday, a spokesman for Number 10 said "I think it will take a bit more time and, as we said yesterday, what we will do is sort out the substance and then decide on any timetable issues that arise."

Issues of forgiveness and guilt also arose as Number 10 warned against "finger pointing and the blame game" as the behind the scenes negotiations entered a critical stage.

London and Washington hope that a breakthrough in Northern Ireland is imminent after the IRA issued a new document clarifying outstanding issues.

A new dossier was sent to officials on Monday night - prompting fresh speculation that a significant decommissioning move is on the cards.

With deadlines looming, another day of frenetic activity is being predicted as Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern try to secure agreement.

To achieve this it must answer Downing Street's concerns over the wording of commitments to weapons decommissioning and long-term peace.

In exchange London will give commitments on cutting troop numbers.

Blair and Ahern are said to be ready to fly to Dublin at "a moment's notice" to release the blueprint as soon as final obstacles are overcome.

Hopes for Easter breakthrough in Northern Ireland

-16/4/03

Hopes are growing for a breakthrough at Easter in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Whilst an official deadline of Thursday last week has now passed, reports suggest that the historic significance of Easter means a breakthrough could be secured within days.

One key date in the republican calendar is just two days away and may be used as a symbolic moment by the IRA to signal that the war is finally over.

April 17 was the day of the 1916 Easter Uprising which became the catalyst for the war of independence which led to the creation of the Irish state.

Easter has other precedents in the peace process - the Good Friday Agreement was signed by all the political parties in 1998 and paved the way for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The IRA also used to issue a statement at Easter, so it could use the precedent to make what it will see as a historic gesture towards peace.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister expressed hope that progress could soon be made but said all sides would have to "wait and see".

Speaking on Tuesday, a spokesman for Number 10 said "I think it will take a bit more time and, as we said yesterday, what we will do is sort out the substance and then decide on any timetable issues that arise."

Issues of forgiveness and guilt also arose as Number 10 warned against "finger pointing and the blame game" as the behind the scenes negotiations entered a critical stage.

London and Washington hope that a breakthrough in Northern Ireland is imminent after the IRA issued a new document clarifying outstanding issues.

A new dossier was sent to officials on Monday night - prompting fresh speculation that a significant decommissioning move is on the cards.

With deadlines looming, another day of frenetic activity is being predicted as Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern try to secure agreement.

To achieve this it must answer Downing Street's concerns over the wording of commitments to weapons decommissioning and long-term peace.

In exchange London will give commitments on cutting troop numbers.

Blair and Ahern are said to be ready to fly to Dublin at "a moment's notice" to release the blueprint as soon as final obstacles are overcome.

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