Ulster Loyalists pull out of peace talks

The Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando today withdrew from disarmament talks with the international decommissioning body in Belfast.

The Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando today withdrew from disarmament talks with the international decommissioning body in Belfast.

Progressive Unionist Party Assembly member Billy Hutchinson, who was the negotiator for the two loyalist groups, said they were withdrawing because of the handling of the peace process.

Party leader David Ervine also announced that the PUP was breaking off all contact with Sinn Fein until he knew exactly what republican intentions were towards the Unionist community.

The PUP accused Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sinn Fein of operating an exclusive peace process and of trying to strike a deal behind closed doors.

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