Belfast Telegraph

Riots delay publication of peace reports

By Brian Rowan

The publication of reports by two of the peace process commissions was postponed last week after the UVF assault on the nationalist Short Strand in east Belfast, which sparked two nights of violence.

It has meant a further delay in publishing the final assessments of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

Last week this newspaper was advised that the publication of the reports would "probably" happen on Thursday.

However, yesterday the Northern Ireland Office confirmed that the reports had been delayed because of the unrest but would be published "in the coming months".

Clearly, the violence in east Belfast had forced a re-think.

And, with the IMC now off the stage, there would have been questions about who will report on the actions of the UVF - on what is being viewed as a clear breach of the ceasefire and paramilitary leadership orders given in 2007. In its endgame statement the UVF claimed all recruitment had ceased, all active service units had been de-activated and all ordnance (meaning weapons) had been put beyond reach.

Last Thursday, the First Minister Peter Robinson and DUP colleagues Jonathan Bell, Jeffrey Donaldson and Sammy Douglas held a private meeting with the UVF, as part of the effort to restore calm to east Belfast. The loyalist delegation of five included the UVF leader in the east of the city.

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