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The de Chastelain reports Feb. 11: IRA will put guns ‘beyond use’

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The second report from Gen. John de Chastelain was released Friday, just hours after the first, by the Irish government and then by Britain. The full text is as follows:

In our report of Jan. 31, 2000, the Commission stated that intense negotiations were continuing and we would report any concrete result that came from them.

Since then, we have had several contacts with the IRA and loyalist representatives.

The IRA declaration of support for the process leading to a permanent peace in Ireland, the contribution made by the cease-fires, and the statement that the IRA provides no threat to that process are recognized.

We believe that these are important issues of considerable significance for peace and stability in Northern Ireland and they were reflected in our Jan. 31 report.

Since December 1999, the IRA has engaged frankly and hopefully with the Commission and we note their intention to do so.

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We also note the IRA assessment that the question of British forces and loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland must be addressed.

While the future of British troops is outside our remit, the elimination of the threat posed by loyalist paramilitary arms is clearly within the Commission’s remit.

We have been advised by loyalist representatives of their commitment to address the issue of their arms in the context of similar action taken by the IRA.

In our discussions this week with the UVF and UFF representatives, each confirmed their positions as stated in our Jan. 31 report, and the UFF representatives further engaged with us on methods of decommissioning and related support issues.

We welcome the IRA’s belief that the "state of perpetual crisis" can be averted and that the issue of arms can be resolved.

We find particularly significant, and view as valuable progress, the assertion made to us by the IRA representative that the IRA will consider how to put arms and explosives beyond use, in the context of full implementation of the Good Friday agreement, and in the context of the removal of the causes of conflict.

The Commission welcomes the IRA’s recognition that the issue of arms need to be dealt with in an acceptable way and that is a necessary objective of a genuine peace process and their statement that for those reasons they are engaged with us.

The Commission further welcomes the IRA’s commitment to sustain and enhance its contribution to a durable peace and their statement that they have supported and will continue to support efforts to secure the resolution of the arms issue.

The representative indicated to us today (Friday) the context in which the IRA will initiate a comprehensive process to put arms beyond use, in a manner as to ensure maximum public confidence.

The Commission believes that this commitment, on the basis described above, holds out the real prospect of an agreement which would enable it to fulfill the substance of its mandate.

We will make a further report to the two governments as appropriate."

Tauno Nieminen, John de Chastelain, Andrew D. Sens


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