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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 30, 1996


The President welcomes the important progress made in the historic Northern Ireland peace talks that adjourned yesterday for the summer vacation season. The talks will reconvene on September 9. Before adjourning, the parties reached agreement on rules of procedure for the talks and the establishment of a business committee.

Senator George Mitchell and his colleagues, General De Chastelain and Mr. Holkeri, are to be congratulated for their fine work in chairing the Belfast talks. They have once again made a significant contribution to the peace process, as they did on the International Body that made recommendations on the decommissioning issue last winter. Let me also extend our condolences to the Senator on the recent death of his brother. Our thoughts are with him and his family at this sad time.

We are encouraged by the progress that has been made and the momentum that has been generated. The President has always emphasized that a lasting settlement can only come through dialogue and negotiation; now that dialogue is well underway. The August recess will give participants, who have been hard at work for seven weeks, a chance to reflect and renew their energies. We hope that the remaining issues regarding the agenda will be resolved expeditiously once the talks reconvene. We continue to call on the IRA to restore its cease-fire and we applaud the restraint the loyalist paramilitaries continue to show in maintaining their cease-fire.

We also urge communities and leaders to assure that the remainder of the "marching season" in Northern Ireland is conducted with dignity and respect on both sides, without confrontation or violence.

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