Trimble threatens to quit Agreement review talks

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble today threatened to pull out of talks on the review of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble today threatened to pull out of talks on the review of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

He warned of a withdrawal over claims the IRA was involved in the kidnapping of a dissident republican in Belfast last Friday night.

The threat came as the IRA leadership categorically denied authorising the abduction of Bobby Tohill.

At the same time British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the UK House of Commons that “action will have to follow” if the provisionals were implicated in the kidnapping.

Northern Ireland's cross community Alliance Party today requested a meeting with a four member commission tasked with monitoring paramilitary ceasefires to get it to produce a report on last Friday's abduction of Mr Tohill.

Alliance leader David Ford said legislation which established the Independent Monitoring Commission allowed the British and Irish governments to request reports on an ad hoc basis.

However, the governments had only asked the commission to bring forward the publication date of its first monitoring report to May following last Friday’s incident.

The South Antrim MLA said: “Alliance believes that, given the seriousness of the situation and its potential to derail the review (of the Good Friday Agreement), this would be a suitable time for such a report.

“We are also concerned that if a report is not published until May, this comes between the European election campaign and the summer break.

“It would be September before the issue was dealt with and the review properly under way again.

“We cannot allow that delay. The Review has barely started and already it is looking shaky. The public expects all parties to get on with the job of restoring devolution, but that is difficult if the government refuses to deal with the issues with the urgency they deserve.”

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