Northern Ireland paramilitary group to dump arms by Feb.

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by I-G, Sep 8, 2009.

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    Northern Ireland paramilitary group to dump arms by Feb.
    Tue Sep 8, 2009 3:58am EDT

    DUBLIN (Reuters) - The last remaining pro-British paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have vowed to scrap their weapons by the end of February, an international decommissioning body said on Tuesday.

    The Ulster Defense Association and a breakaway faction have told the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning that they were committed to destroying their arsenal following similar moves by the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando in June.

    "Confirmation by the IICD that all five brigades of the UDA remain committed to completing decommissioning within the timeframe of the Commission is very welcome," said Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward.

    The UDA had said in June it had destroyed part of its weaponry and signaled it would finish the job.

    Northern Ireland has enjoyed relative peace since a 1998 peace deal ended the Irish Republican Army's military campaign against British control of the province.

    But hard-line pro-Irish splinter groups remain a threat.

    Pro-British paramilitary organizations that want to keep Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom have been under pressure for years to start getting rid of arms following the IRA's decision to dispose of its weapons in 2005.

    (Reporting by Anne Cadwallader; editing by Carmel Crimmins)

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