Northern Ireland Peace Process
The 1998 signing of the U.S.-brokered Good Friday Agreement marked the unofficial end to Northern Ireland's "troubles," a low intensity civil war that took the lives of more than 3,000 people.
Signed by the major political parties and ratified by voters across the island of Ireland, the Agreement enshrines the principle of consent: that Northern Ireland would remain part of the United Kingdom unless and until the citizens of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland both vote for a united Ireland. The Agreement calls for Protestants to share political power with the minority Catholics and for the creation of an elected Northern Ireland Assembly. It also contains provisions on disarmament, policing reform, human rights, prisoners and demilitarization by British armed forces.
Despite the Agreement's historic significance, "direct-rule" ministers (appointed by London) have governed Northern Ireland since October 2002 when the Legislative Assembly was suspended over allegations of an IRA spy ring at the Stormont Parliament building. On April 6, 2006, British Prime Minister Blair and Irish Prime Minister Ahern announced the restoration of the Legislative Assembly scheduled for May 15. Northern Ireland's politicians will have until November 24 to re-establish a power-sharing administration.
The United States fully supports the efforts of both the British and Irish Governments to bring about a lasting political settlement in Northern Ireland. The United States serves as an honest broker for all the Northern Ireland parties, and as a champion of the Good Friday Agreement principles, including the principles of consent, power-sharing, human rights, equality, and greater cooperation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Under the Bush Administration, the State Department has taken the lead on Northern Ireland issues, with Special Envoy Paula Dobriansky coordinating and leading U.S. Government policy.
Tenth Anniversary of Good Friday Agreement
The United States congratulates the people of Northern Ireland on the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Full Text