Sinn Fein leaders urge IRA to disarm

Monday, October 22, 2001

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- Leaders of the Sinn Fein party urged their allies in the Irish Republican Army on Monday to begin disarming to save the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he and his deputy, Martin McGuinness, had both urged the step.

"Martin McGuinness and I have also held discussions with the IRA and we have put to the IRA leadership the view that if it could make a groundbreaking move on the arms issue that this could save the peace process from collapse and transform the situation," Adams said.

Leaders of the main Protestant party, the Ulster Unionists, have resigned from Northern Ireland's government to protest the IRA's failure to keep its promises to put its arms "beyond use."

The government, an experiment in Catholic-Protestant power-sharing, could collapse within days.

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