Pressure me and I quit, says General
Daily and Sunday Express
23 October 2003

The head of Northern Ireland's decommissioning body warned the
Government he would quit if he was forced to reveal the extent of
IRA disarmament.

A spokesman for the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning confirmed that General John de Chastelain and his
fellow commissioners would resist any pressure from Downing Street
to end their confidential agreement with the Provisionals.

The spokesman said: "With regards to confidentiality, if the
commissioners were forced to disclose the inventory without the IRA
agreeing to it, they would judge their position to be untenable."

Pressure has been mounting on General de Chastelain and his
colleagues to reveal more information about the third IRA
disarmament act than he gave on Tuesday when moves designed to
bolster the peace process backfired spectacularly.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble put on hold a series of
choreographed moves involving Sinn Fein, the IRA, the British and
Irish Governments because he was unhappy with the lack of clarity
around the decommissioning act by the IRA.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday Prime Minister Tony Blair told
Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith that the decommissioning
legislation had enabled the IRA to exercise a confidentiality clause
which prevented General de Chastelain from revealing what exactly
happened with the IRA's weapons.

He also implied that he was party to more information about the
IRA's arms move which, if it was in the public domain, would have
helped the peace process.

"That is the arrangement that they entered into with General de
Chastelain, who, for perfectly obvious and honourable reasons, feels
bound by it," he told MPs.

"He gives certain information - not the full information, but
certain information - to us, as the two Governments.

"Although we are not at liberty to disclose that information without
his permission, we are working hard to try to find a way in which we
can do so, because I believe, on the basis of what we know, that
people would be satisfied if they knew the full details."

© Copyright Press Association Ltd 2003, All Rights Reserved.

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