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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 24, 2002
Statement by the President on Northern Ireland
I strongly support Prime Minister Tony Blair's statement in the House of Commons today. The United States joins with his government and the government of Ireland in holding paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland accountable when there is clear, convincing evidence of their use of violence or preparations for it.
The United States strongly backs the Good Friday Agreement as the blueprint for peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland. Since its signing four years ago, the Agreement has brought significant gains to the people of Northern Ireland, and it is a beacon of hope for people everywhere seeking to overcome histories of violence, terror, and sectarian strife. It is the responsibility of all parties, including those associated with paramilitaries and those who are not, to work together to uphold the Agreement and its institutions.
I condemn the recent violence that has marred the lives of the people of Northern Ireland, and I commend those political and civic leaders who have worked to stop it. Paramilitaries must end their violent activities, cease all preparations for them, and recognize the political process as the only valid vehicle for change. Those who cling to the violent ways of the past cannot be allowed to derail Northern Ireland's progress towards a more peaceful future.
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