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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 16, 1997


Northern Ireland Peace Talks

The Administration sharply condemns today's car bombing in Markethill, Northern Ireland. This was a cruel effort by extremists opposed to a peaceful settlement, aimed at disrupting the all party talks that started yesterday in Belfast. We urge all the parties not to allow the enemies of peace to divert them from the important task of finding a lasting and just solution for the people of Northern Ireland. Our sympathy goes to the residents who suffered the devastation and shock of the blast. We hope that those responsible will be brought swiftly to justice.

Yesterday marked an historic moment in the Northern Ireland peace process. Senator George Mitchell presided over the first plenary session open to all parties. We note Sinn Fein's signing up to the Mitchell Principles, which represent an absolute commitment to non-violence in the process. We firmly believe that an inclusive process of dialogue and negotiation offers the only way to resolve the issues which divide the communities and traditions of Northern Ireland.

The United States continues to be prepared to support the British and Irish governments, and all the parties prepared to enter into this process.

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