BACK ON THE PATH TO PEACE

BRITAIN AND IRELAND SET A DATE FOR ALL-PARTY TALKS ON NORTHERN IRELAND, BUT WILL THE I.R.A. HOLD ITS FIRE?

IN LONDON, THE HOUSE OF COMMONS was hushed as Seamus Mallon rose to speak. "This," he proclaimed, "is the moment of truth for all paramilitary groupings. They have to make a choice: Will they join together in making peace, or will they isolate themselves?" Coming from Mallon, deputy leader of the Social Democratic and Labor Party, which speaks for the majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland, it was a challenge the Irish Republican Army could ill afford to ignore.

A new spirit of compromise and hope was abroad in Britain and Ireland last week, and that contrasted sharply with the air...

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