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IRA Announces End to Violence

  • VOA News

The Irish Republic Army has formally abandoned its 35-year campaign of violence against British rule.

A historic statement from the group Thursday called on its members to disarm in favor of purely political, democratic and peaceful programs.

IRA attacks -- including bombings, assassinations and beatings -- have killed nearly 18-hundred people across the United Kingdom since 1970. Its victims include politicians, police officers, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth and numerous civilians.

British Prime Minster Tony Blair called the IRA statement a "step of unparalleled magnitude," if actions follow its words. Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and the Bush administration also welcome the move.

But the leader of the hard-line Protestant Democratic Unionist Party, Ian Paisley, said the IRA lacks the transparency necessary to prove that its weapons will be gone.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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