BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ Rebuffing a British call for assurance that conflict has ended in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said Wednesday that the IRA and its allies can offer no such guarantee.
Peter Mandelson, the senior British official in Northern Ireland, had called for such an assurance Tuesday as a step to reviving the stalled peace process.
Adams, whose party is linked to the Irish Republican Army, said Mandelson’s request was ``an absolute nonsense.″ He said Mandelson must ``wake up to harsh reality″ that no group could guarantee that the conflict is finished.
``I don’t want the war to start again. I don’t know any sensible republican who wants to see the war start again. Is that a guarantee it won’t start again? Of course it isn’t,″ he said. ``The only guarantee is collectively for all of us to come together and to make politics work.″
Protestant political parties, fearing that the IRA cease-fire isn’t permanent, have been pressing the outlawed group to begin disarming. The IRA, like the paramilitary groups on the Protestant side, so far has refused.
Mandelson suspended the new Northern Ireland government last month to prevent a walkout by the biggest Protestant party, the Ulster Unionists, over the arms issue.