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UPI Focus: IRA announces cease-fire

LONDON, July 19 -- The Irish Republican Army said Saturday that it is restoring a cease-fire in its battle with the British government starting at mid-day Sunday. In a statement faxed to Irish broadcaster RTE, the IRA said it had ordered an 'unequivocal' cease-fire starting at noon Sunday.

The group said it was a restoration of an August 1994 cease-fire and all IRA units had been 'instructed accordingly.' The statement said: 'After 17 months of cessation in which the British Government and the unionists blocked any possibility of real or inclusive negotiations, we reluctantly abandoned the cessation. 'The IRA is committed to ending British rule in Ireland. It is the root cause of divisions and conflict in our country. We want a permanent peace and therefore we are prepared to enhance the search for a democratic peace settlement through real and inclusive negotiations. Politicians hope the statement will open the way for the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein ('Shin Fayn'), the political arm of the outlawed IRA, to participate in the peace talks on Northern Ireland scheduled to be held in mid-September. The IRA must maintain its cease- fire for six months in order for Sinn Fein to join the talks. Peace talks without Sinn Fein have been under way for more than a year. Former U.S. Senate Majority leader George Mitchell has been chairing the talks, which thus far have dealt largely with superficial issues. ---

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