UDA ceasefire may be recognised

The British government was today poised to announce that it is recognising the ceasefire of the Ulster Defence Association, Northern Ireland’s biggest loyalist paramilitary group.

The British government was today poised to announce that it is recognising the ceasefire of the Ulster Defence Association, Northern Ireland’s biggest loyalist paramilitary group.

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy was expected to confirm the move later today.

It follows a meeting between Mr Murphy and senior figures in the organisation on November 2 including North Belfast member Andre Shoukri and members of the Ulster Political Research Group.

Last week the four-member Independent Monitoring Commission, which examines the state of paramilitary ceasefires, said the UDA was still heavily involved in crime and also paramilitary shootings and attacks.

The UDA was blamed for a vicious sectarian attack against three Catholic men in August.

In October 2001, Mr Murphy’s predecessor as Northern Ireland Secretary, John Reid, withdrew British recognition for the UDA’s ceasefire and that of the Loyalist Volunteer Force because of their involvement in violence.

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