The decommissioning of terrorist weapons and the peace process in Northern Ireland

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Abstract

The decommissioning of terrorist (or what are sometimes referred to as 'illegal') weapons has been a critical issue in the Northern Ireland peace process. The issue is both one of political sensitivity and of technical complexity. Like previous arms control negotiations, the issue is not only one of weapons but of political trust: illegal weapons in Northern Ireland are as much a symptom as a cause of tension. As the Mitchell Report stated, 'what is really needed is the decommissioning of mind-sets in Northern Ireland'. This article looks first at the manner in which decommissioning became one of the key issues in the peace process and the relationship between decommissioning and negotiations on future political structures, before looking at some of the problem areas involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-103
Number of pages21
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 1997

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