Sinn Fein Formally Renounces Use of Violence & Promises to Pursue Peace Hot

Sinn Fein Formally Renounces Use of Violence & Promises to Pursue Peace

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Sinn Fein, the political arm of the IRA, formally renounces the use of violence and promises to pursue "exclusively peaceful means" to end the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland.

This commitment is a prerequisite for Sinn Fein to be able to take part in peace talks in Belfast.

Former U.S. Senate majority leader George Mitchell, who is chairman of the peace talks, says:

"We're pleased that Sinn Fein has now joined nine other political parties in Northern Ireland and the two governments in affirming not just their present commitment to [the principles], but their willingness to adhere to them in the future. We think it's a significant step in removing the use or threat of violence from the political process in Northern Ireland."

Unionist groups, though, are very suspicious. David Kerr, an assistant to Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble, says:

"We don't really believe it. We would say that Sinn Fein and the IRA are inextricably linked. They are two sides of the same coin."

According to Kerr, a renunciation of violence would have more meaning if Sinn Fein and the IRA surrendered at least some of their weapons instead of simply making promises.

Video

The Continuity IRA and Republican Sinn Féin — 1997

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