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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sinn Fein Calls for New IRA Cease-Fire

DUBLIN, Ireland -- The Irish Republican Army's political allies on Friday urged the outlawed group to call another cease-fire, raising new hopes for peace in Northern Ireland.


In a statement issued in Dublin, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said they have provided the IRA with a detailed assessment of current peace efforts.


"I have made it clear over the 18 months since the collapse of the peace process that I would only approach the IRA to restore their cessation if I was confident that their response would be positive," Adams said.


He said peace in the British-ruled province depended on Sinn Fein being included in constitutional talks. Sinn Fein has been barred since the IRA broke a 17-month cease-fire in February 1996.


"If the political will exists, there is the potential to resolve the conflict on the basis of an agreed and democratic peace settlement among all the Irish people," Adams said.


British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that a new Irish Republican Army cease-fire will enable Sinn Fein to enter the talks.


Earlier Friday, the British and Irish governments refused to bow to a Protestant demand that they change their proposals on disarming the IRA.


Protestant leaders want strict and regular checks on what arms the IRA has handed over.


"We will stand by the basis of our document," British Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam said after meeting with Irish Foreign Minister Ray Burke.


David Trimble, leader of the largest Protestant party, the Ulster Unionists, told Blair on Thursday that the disarmament plan was too vague.


The British and Irish governments, joint sponsors of the year-old talks in Belfast, want the nine parties currently participating to approve the disarmament plan next Wednesday. It requires "due progress" to be made on disarming Northern Ireland's rival paramilitary groups during the course of negotiations.


The plan depends on a new IRA cease-fire.


The British government hopes Sinn Fein would be able to join the talks in September and that the parties could start negotiating on new arrangements for governing Northern Ireland..