Pact outlines N. Ireland government

Oct. 14, 2006 at 9:21 AM

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- British and Irish leaders, meeting in St. Andrews, Scotland, released details of an agreement for an inclusive government in Northern Ireland.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern Friday announced a blueprint for a Catholic-Protestant government in Northern Ireland, that could end the decades-old violence there, the Scotsman said Saturday.

Although Northern Ireland's political parties did not sign off on the pact, leaders from both parties said they agreed with the principles it contained, the Scotsman said.

Both Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said they were committed to peace. Sinn Fein is the political arm of the Irish Republican Army.

One of the crucial elements was Sinn Fein/IRA's commitment to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Scotsman said.

Blair and Ahern said sides in Northern Ireland had until Nov. 10 to support the agreement. The November deadline is part of a timetable to restore devolution to Northern Ireland by March 2007.

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