Armed and Not Ready

Northern Ireland's peace plan founders on disarmament issue

In the end, the foundations so painstakingly built by those who sought peace could not stand the weight of bitter history. Northern Ireland's promising experiment in coalition government ended after only 72 days when Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson, suspended it last week and reimposed direct rule from London. He was avoiding what he considered a worse fate--the resignation of David Trimble, the government's First Minister and leader of the Ulster Unionists who in November promised his party to quit unless the Irish Republican Army began to surrender its guns and explosives by now.

But the I.R.A. did not hammer...

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