UK: BELFAST: NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE PROCESS LATEST (2)

English/Nat

The British and Irish governments are hoping both Protestants and Catholics will finally break the deadlock at talks on Wednesday to make the Northern Ireland peace process work.

Participants say Wednesday’s deadline set by British Prime Minister Tony Blair could well stretch overnight into a red-eyed Thursday.

Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern have been hoping since Monday to hammer out a deal around one table with the Ulster Unionists, Sinn Fein and the third party essential to making the new government work, the moderate Catholics of the Social Democratic and Labor Party.

Sinn Fein is under intense pressure to make a commitment to decommissioning which would unlock the political process and could lead to the formation of a governmental Executive.

Then once a commitment is made by Sinn Fein over arms, it would need to be backed by a similar commitment from the IRA to satisfy unionists.

Meanwhile, children from Catholic and Protestant schools have made their feelings known.

They want peace.

And as the negotiations in Stormont continue, the search for more bodies – victims of the IRA who have never been found – is still underway at Dundalk.

Two bodies were found on Tuesday, in the first breakthrough in the search for eight people believed abducted and murdered by the IRA.

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