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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 23, 2001

President's Statement on Northern Ireland

I warmly welcome the announcement by the Chairman of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, General John de Chastelain, that a significant act of decommissioning has been carried out by the IRA and verified by the Commission.  This is an historic step by the IRA.  The people of Northern Ireland are now measurably closer to the lasting peace which they richly deserve.

I hope all paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland will build on today's events, striving to achieve the total disarmament called for by the Good Friday Agreement.  I know I speak for all Americans when I express my heartfelt appreciation to General de Chastelain for his continuing efforts in support of the peace process.  This act of decommissioning will, I hope, lead to the full functioning of the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.  All leaders should be prepared to intensify their efforts to resolve remaining outstanding issues.

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