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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Quarrels Snag Efforts to Renew Riot-Torn Irish Peace Process

BELFAST -- Politicians in Belfast, London, Dublin and Strasbourg attempted Wednesday to revive a Northern Ireland peace process stopped by the most serious violence for years.


In Belfast, month-old negotiations continued under the chairmanship of former U.S. senator George Mitchell, who urged participants to get down to business.


But pro-British Protestants and pro-Irish Catholics were still quarrelling over drawing up basic, procedural rules.


Ken Maginnis of the pro-British, Ulster Unionist Party said he did not think progress could be made in the crisis atmosphere prevailing since violence erupted after Protestants forced police to reverse a ban on an Orange Order parade through a Catholic area.


In Strasbourg, Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring told the European Parliament he wanted a new beginning to Anglo-Irish efforts to resolve a 27-year conflict which has killed 3,200 people and divides Protestants and Catholics.


Spring is due to meet British Northern Ireland Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew in London on Thursday to try to repair the damage to relations between the two governments, co-sponsors of the peace process.


"The rule of law must be seen to prevail, to be effectively policed in an impartial manner," said Spring.


In London, British Prime Minister John Major was expected to get a briefing on the Catholic anger at a meeting with the Nobel peace prize nominee John Hume, who represents Northern Ireland's 40-percent Catholic minority through the Social Democratic and Labour Party.


In Dublin, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, barred from the Belfast negotiations until his allies in the Irish Republican Army call a cease-fire, spoke with Irish opposition leader Bertie Ahern.


Adams called on Irish radio for a "root and branch review" of the peace process. "There can't be any pretense that it can be business as usual after the catastrophic events of the last week," he said.