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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Premiers Restart Irish Peace Talks




BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The British and Irish prime ministers launched a determined bid Monday to transform the long-postponed hopes of the Good Friday peace deal into reality.


In daylong talks, Britain's Tony Blair and Ireland's Bertie Ahern were confronting the twin obstacles: Protestant refusal to form a new coalition government that includes Sinn Fein politicians unless the Irish Republican Army starts to disarm first, and Sinn Fein's refusal to deliver any IRA disarmament promises.


Making the week's diplomatic efforts even more fraught was the fear that any deal could be quickly undermined by violence connected with the annual Orange Order marches of early July.


Authorities on Monday banned a Protestant march from entering a Catholic area in the village of Drumcree, a long-time sectarian flashpoint.


The government-appointed Parades Commission assigned to rule on applications for marches had postponed its verdict to allow for last-minute negotiations involving the Orange Order and the Catholic protesters.