L’UVF HA SCELTO GLI OSSERVATORI INDIPENDENTI CHE VIGILERANNO SULLO SMANTELLAMENTO DEGLI ARMAMENTI
L’UVF avrebbe scelto Chris Hudson, pacifista ex membro del Communication Workers Union e il reverendo Gary Mason, come osservatori indipendenti che dovranno vigilare insieme al Generale De Chastelaine (Independent International Commission on Decommissioning), sullo smantellamento degli armamenti previsti per la fine di quest’estate.
Hudson ha dichairato di non essere stato ufficialmente contattato dal gruppo paramilitare, gruppo con cui halavorato dal 1993 in qualità di mediatore tra i lealisti ed il governo irlandese. Proprio in virtù della sua attività passata, Hudson ha confermato la sua disponibilità a fornire il suo aiuto.
Il metodo di disattivazione degli armamenti sarà il medesimo di quello applicato al disarmo dell’IRA.
Tutte le principali organizzazioni lealisti sono pronti a smantellare le armi.
UVF chooses observers to verify its arms decommissioning (The Observer)
A Dublin-born trade unionist and an east Belfast Methodist minister are to be asked to oversee the decommissioning of the Ulster Volunteer Force’s terrorism arsenal. The Observer has learnt that Irish peace activist Chris Hudson, formerly of the Communication Workers Union, and the Rev Gary Mason are the UVF’s preferred “independent observers” when the group disarms later this summer. Last night Hudson said he had not yet been approached by the loyalist group, but would be willing to help if asked to. Hudson, now a Presbyterian minister, has been working with the UVF since 1993, acting as a mediator between the loyalists and the Irish government. “You only have to look at my record to know I would be willing to help in any way,” he said. The former Peace Train activist was a secret link between Dublin and the UVF in the lead-up to the loyalist ceasefires of October 1994. Hudson and Mason are regarded as “honest brokers” who could accompany officials from General John de Chastelain’s Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) when overseeing UVF guns and explosives being put beyond use. The method of decommissioning will be the same as that employed by the IRA, which put its arsenal beyond use in front of IICD members and two churchmen. No photographs or film footage were taken of the arms dumps being sealed: instead, the two clergymen publicly verified that tonnes of guns and Semtex explosive had been decommissioned. The UVF leadership raised the possibility of using two independent observers to build public confidence in their decommissioning process during meetings with local units around Greater Belfast last week. Two discussions involving large numbers of UVF members were held on the Shankill Road and at a venue on the Shore Road in the north of the city. The organisation is edging towards decommissioning before the British government’s August deadline. The government has warned that if loyalist paramilitaries do not disarm by then they will send the PSNI to raid UVF and UDA arms dumps across Northern Ireland. All the major loyalist organisations are poised to decommission their weapons. A fortnight ago the rebel faction of the Ulster Defence Association in south-east Antrim told the Observer it is ready to disarm. The mainstream UDA, representing five out of the organisation’s six “brigades”, is understood to be in discussions with the IICD about a weapons handover before the end of the summer. The DUP is holding talks with the UDA’s political allies, the Ulster Political Research Group, this week as part of discussions aimed at securing decommissioning from the largest loyalist paramilitary movement. A majority of the units within the UVF support its leadership’s desire to put their arsenal beyond use. However, two factions, one in east Belfast, the other in north Antrim, are understood to be opposed to any decommissioning. Despite that opposition, the UVF command is expected to announce it is decommissioning its arsenal on 1 July when loyalist groups commemorate the Battle of the Somme. One government source said: “Both organisations know that if they don’t comply by the August deadline, then it will be open season for the police to go looking for their guns.”