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Monday, November 15, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT

UK: Northern Ireland

The Mitchell statement in full

George Mitchell: Discussions are well advanced

Former US Senator George Mitchell issued his latest statement at Stormont, saying there is new hope of advancing the Northern Ireland peace process.

"In my statement of 2 November I reported that my discussions with the parties are well advanced.

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"I have, since then, met the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister as well as President Clinton and last week and today I have had further meetings with the parties.

"The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning has also been preparing, at my request, an assessment of the current state of the decommissioning issue.

"In the course of the review the parties have engaged with one another in an unprecedented manner.

"They have been exploring intensively how to implement the Good Friday Agreement on the basis of three principles relating to devolution and decommissioning agreed on June 25 which are the focus of the review.

"I believe that the parties now understand each others concerns and requirements far better than before and are committed to resolving the current impasse.

Increasing confidence

"I am increasingly confident that a way will be found to do so.

"The pro-Agreement parties and the governments share the view that devolution should occur and the institution should be established at the earliest possible date.

"It is also common ground that decommissioning should occur as quickly as possible and that the commission should play a central role in achieving this under the terms of the agreement.

"Accordingly, I have asked that the assessment on which the commission has been working be made public promptly and the parties give their views on that report and, on tomorrow, the parties make public their positions as they have developed during this review on the issues we have been considering together.

"Shortly after these further steps are taken I hope to be in a position to issue a final report on the review.

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