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CNN Today

IRA's Refusal to Disarm Leaves Northern Ireland's Fledgling Government in Jeopardy

Aired February 3, 2000 - 2:12 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Northern Ireland's fledgling government is in trouble. Emergency talks may be held, in hopes of rescuing the new power-sharing, Protestant-Catholic coalition. The crisis? A dispute over the Irish Republican Army's refusal to disarm. Britain is poised to pull the plug on the two-month-old provincial government.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Belfast. He has the latest -- Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in a few minutes, the British government -- the minister responsible for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson, is expected to announce his assessment of where things stand in Northern Ireland: where the political parties stand on the issue of disarming.

The fact that the IRA hasn't handed any weapons in has thrown the current peace process into crisis. And he will give his assessment. He is under pressure from the Protestant politicians here to suspend the new assembly. He will give his assessment. And it is understood at this time, that there are still talks going on between the British and Irish prime ministers to try and resolve this -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And is the IRA having anything to say about this today?

ROBERTSON: Today, the IRA has said nothing. They issued a statement earlier in the week where they said that they had maintained their cease-fire for a number of years now, and they say that they were not, at this time, a threat to peace -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Nic Robertson watching things in Belfast.

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