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Britain, Ireland Vow 'New Momentum' for Talks

September 06, 1996| From Reuters

DUBLIN, Ireland — Britain and Ireland promised Thursday to breathe new life into Northern Ireland peace talks after months of rising tensions fueled by sectarian divisions and by feuds in Protestant loyalist groups.

Irish Foreign Minister Dick Spring said the two governments, which are sponsoring the troubled negotiations, were determined to "put new momentum into the multi-party talks" that will resume in Belfast on Monday.

He spoke after two hours of talks with Britain's Northern Ireland secretary, Patrick Mayhew, amid concern that a feud in Northern Ireland's loyalist community threatens to put fresh strain on the negotiations. Both Mayhew and Spring said it was likely that loyalist groups at the talks would face calls for their expulsion because of a death threat against a militant loyalist, Billy Wright.

Wright, a convicted activist, was ordered by Protestant loyalist militia to leave the province by midnight last Saturday for challenging the policies being pursued at the talks by loyalist parties.

Wright said he opposes the policies of loyalist parties taking part in the peace talks because the negotiations are aimed at ending British rule of Northern Ireland. "I will not become part of a process that is designed to ease our people into a united Ireland," he said.

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