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The Good Friday Agreement Essay

4. The agreement included three areas: a new northern Ireland assembly and executive on a power-sharing basis, as well as two groups of cross-border institutions. 5. The agreement also aimed to end sectarian violence by calling for the complete dismantling of weapons in exchange for early release of prisoners and reforms of police work. The 1998 agreement came at a time of considerable optimism after the Cold War about the prospects for resolving the long-standing political conflict, from the Middle East to Colombia to the Balkans. Time has stifled those hopes, as many conflicts have proved reckless against a solution, and even agreements that have remained intact have proven largely disappointing in establishing true reconciliation. The 1998 agreement certainly fits into this category, but brutal violence has not reappeared. As the international community reflects on future peace efforts in Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan and beyond, the peace process in Northern Ireland continues to offer important lessons to scientists and practitioners. Participants in the agreement consisted of two sovereign states (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland) with armed men and police forces involved in the riots.

Two political parties, Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), were linked to paramilitary organisations: the Commissional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (EIE). The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), together with the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had withdrawn from the talks three months earlier. Thatcher`s successor, John Major, was less personally married to unionism and some attribute to him that he made the most important decisions – including the Downing Street Declaration and the Anglo-Irish Frameworks51 document – that ultimately resulted in the 1998 peace agreement. Major undoubtedly showed considerable courage in his cooperation with his Irish counterparts (and indirectly with the IRA). But these actions further reinforced the unionists` suspicions, and the major`s reliance on unionist voices to cling to his parliamentary majority limited his room for manoeuvre, leading him to insist on a permanent cessation of violence and the prior closure of weapons as a precondition for Sinn Fein`s entry into peace talks. tests that almost caused the process to fail. 46 Fred Halliday, « Peace Processes in the Late 20th Century, » in A Farewell to Arms: From « Long War » to Long Peace in Northern Ireland, m. Michael Cox, Adrian Guelke and Fiona Stephens (New York: Manchester University Press, 2000), 285. See also the essays in Power, Building Peace in Northern Ireland. Finally, the agreement promised early release of prisoners served for crimes related to Troubles. Early releases would depend on paramilitary groups complying with their ceasefire and maintaining their obligation to downgrade. .

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