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Ireland’s Foreign Minister Seeks Peace Talks

Thu., Feb. 8, 1996

Taking inspiration from the Bosnian peace accord, Ireland’s foreign minister is urging “a Dayton-style approach” to ending the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Like the delegations whose talks in Dayton, Ohio, in November led to a settlement in the former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland’s hostile parties should meet, but not in the same room, Foreign Minister Dick Spring said.

Spring said this would allow Irish Catholic and British Protestant politicians to “get business done” at a time when Northern Ireland’s politicians remain reluctant to sit down together.

Spring spoke Wednesday before leaving for Washington, where he hopes to convince President Clinton that Ireland’s strategy has more chances of success than Britain’s.

His proposal follows Britain’s call for elections within Northern Ireland to select negotiators from each party in the British-ruled province.

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