Maskell, this is from 28th July 2005. You might find it educational....
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The Irish Republican Army says it will resume disarmament and has ordered its members to halt its armed campaign to end British rule.
The order took effect at 1500 GMT on Thursday.
The IRA, which has observed a cease-fire since 1997, did not say it would formally disband but promised to pursue its goals through political means.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called the statement a "step of unparalleled magnitude," but unionists said they wanted proof the IRA was serious.
Gerry Adams, president of IRA's political ally Sinn Fein, called the statement "courageous and confident initiative."
In a lengthy statement, the outlawed group appealed to Britain and Northern Ireland's Protestant majority to accept its new position as sufficient to renew negotiations on power-sharing, the core goal of the 1998 peace accord for the British territory.
"The leadership has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign," the statement said.
"All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programs through exclusively peaceful means."
It added that "volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever," a phrase which is being interpreted as referring to alleged criminal activity.
The statement said the IRA had authorized a representative to work with the Independent International Commission of Decommissioning (IIDC) to complete the process of putting weapons beyond use.
There was "very strong support" among IRA volunteers for Sinn Fein's peace strategy, the statement said, but added there was widespread concern about the "failure" of the British and Irish governments and unionists to "fully engage in the peace process".
It said the majority of people in Ireland wanted to see the full implementation of the 1998 Good Friday peace accord, and it now accepted its goals could be achieved by political means.
"We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate," it said.
But the statement stopped short of issuing an apology for the killings that took place during the armed campaign, saying instead: "We are conscious that many people suffered in the conflict."
CNN's Europe political editor Robin Oakley said the statement gave no timetable of the IRA's disarmament nor whether it would agree to supplying photographic proof.
"We have got the words here, which indicate an act of closure from the IRA. But the issue now is whether the IRA lives up to that promise on the ground," he said.
Oakley said it was also unclear whether republican splinter groups would fill the void left by the IRA's move.
Welcoming the statement, Blair said decommissioning must take place as soon as possible.
"This may be the day when finally, after all the false dawns and dashed hopes, peace replaced war, politics replaces terror," he said.
"This is in a different order to anything before. This is what we have striven for in the last eight years since the Good Friday Peace Agreement."
Berie Ahern, the Irish taoiseach, or prime minister, said the statement heralded the end of the IRA as a paramilitary organization.
"If the IRA's words are borne out by verified actions, it will be a momentous and historic development," he said.
Adams said there was now "no possible excuse" for the British and Irish governments not to implement the Good Friday agreement.
"There is a time for peace. There is a time for justice. There is a time for rebuilding. This is that time. This is the era of the nation builders," he said.
"There is an enormous responsibility on us to seize this moment."
But the Democratic Unionists, the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland, said the statement did not go far enough.
"They have failed to explicitly declare an end to their multi-million-pound criminal activity and have failed to provide the level of transparency that would be necessary to truly build confidence that the guns had gone in their entirety," a DUP statement said.
Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey said: "I can't take any statement from the Republican movement at face value because we've had that many of them in the past," he said. "Let's see what happens to the weapons. Let's see what happens on the ground."
John Hume, a moderate Catholic politician in Northern Ireland, said: "The real duty now, if we want to have a totally peaceful and stable country, is for all true democrats to implement the will of the people."
Speaking on CNN, the U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, said he was hopeful of a major act of decommissioning in the next few weeks, "if not sooner."
Speculation that a statement was imminent had intensified on Wednesday night after the British government released from jail one of the IRA's most infamous bombers, Sean Kelly.
Kelly was once sentenced to life imprisonment for killing nine civilians in a fish shop bomb in Belfast in 1993.
Hopes of restoring power sharing in Northern Ireland fell apart in December when the IRA refused to allow its disarmament to be publicly recorded.
The IRA was supposed to have disarmed fully by mid-2000, but did not start the process until October 2001 and has insisted that any details of its partial disarmament be kept secret.