Inspectors: IRA Full Disarmament

A Freshly painted Irish Republican Army mural in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, September, 25, 2005. It has been reported Snday that the IRA have decommissioned all its weapons. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
AP
International weapons inspectors have supervised the full disarmament of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, a long-sought goal of Northern Ireland's peace process, an aide to the process' monitor said Sunday.

The IRA permitted two independent witnesses, including a Methodist minister and a Roman Catholic priest close to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, to view the secret disarmament work conducted by officials from Canada, Finland and the United States, the aide to retired Canadian Gen. John de Chastelain said on condition of anonymity.

The office of de Chastelain, who in recent weeks has been in secret locations overseeing the weapons destruction, scheduled a Monday news conference in Belfast.

The aide told The Associated Press that the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning news conference would detail the scrapping of many tons of IRA weaponry this month at a confidential location in the Republic of Ireland. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Both witnesses — the Rev. Harold Good, a former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and the Rev. Alex Reid, a Catholic priest — also will state what they saw.

The breakthrough should smash the biggest stumbling block in Northern Ireland's peace process since Britain opened negotiations with Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party, in December 1994.