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Gerry Adams, chairman of the Sinn Féin Republican Party, and his deputy Martin McGuinness, who later became Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, played a key role in the agreement. John Morrison explains his trip from provisional IRA members to Sinn Féin leaders. Northern Ireland political parties that approved the agreement were also invited to consider the creation of an independent advisory forum, which would represent civil society, with members with expertise on social, cultural, economic and other issues, and would be appointed by both administrations. In 2002, a framework structure was agreed for the North-South Advisory Forum, and in 2006 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to support its implementation. The agreement consists of two related documents, both agreed on Good Friday in Belfast on 10 April 1998: 1. This agreement provides for a democratically elected assembly in Northern Ireland, including its membership, capable of exercising executive and legislative powers, and which is subject to guarantees to protect the rights and interests of all parties to the Community. The overall result of these problems was to undermine trade unionists` confidence in the agreement exploited by the anti-DUP agreement, which eventually overtook the pro-agreement Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in the 2003 general elections. UUP had already resigned from the executive in 2002 following the Stormontgate scandal, in which three men were indicted for intelligence gathering. These charges were eventually dropped in 2005 because persecution was not “in the public interest.” Immediately afterwards, one of Sinn Féin`s members, Denis Donaldson, was unmasked as a British agent. 4. All decisions are taken by mutual agreement between the two governments. Governments will make determined efforts to resolve disputes between them. There will be no exception to the sovereignty of either government.

The multi-party agreement required the parties to “use all the influences they might have” to obtain the dismantling of all paramilitary weapons within two years of the adoption of the agreement by referendums. The standardization process has forced the British government to reduce the number and role of its armed forces in Northern Ireland “to a level compatible with a normal peaceful society.”

Dan