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CNN Today

British, Irish Officials Struggle to Save Northern Ireland Peace Agreement

Aired February 3, 2000 - 1:13 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: British and Irish officials are struggling, today, to save the Northern Ireland peace agreement. The future of the coalition government is in doubt amid charges the Irish Republican Army has not given up its weapons.

CNN's Nic Robertson is covering the story and joins us now from Belfast with the latest.

Nic, what's happening?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, in about an hour's time the British minister responsible for Northern Ireland will deliver the British decision on what they will do about this new Northern Ireland assembly, and it's understood at this time he is very likely to say that because the British and Irish prime ministers are still trying to hammer out a solution that he is still -- they are still trying to find a way around the current impasse over suspending this assembly because of the lack of IRA weapons being handed in, that he is likely to say that the assembly should stand while the British and Irish prime ministers work out what can be done.

And in the last few days, the Irish prime minister has been working very closely with Sinn Fein, that's the political wing of the IRA, to say if Sinn Fein can put any pressure on the IRA to hand in their weapons.

At this time, a few hours ago, in fact, British and Irish prime ministers talked by phone, and we understand from Dublin that the Irish prime minister would travel to Britain as soon as he got some indication that there were some positive developments.

So, this situation going right down to the wire here, and the possibility of some resolution still possible -- Lou.

WATERS: All right, we'll closely be following this story, of course. Nic Robertson in Belfast on this Thursday.

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