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IRA Suspends Contact with Disarmament Commission - 2002-10-30

The Irish Republican Army is suspending contact with the international commission that oversees the disarmament of paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. The IRA is making the move after Britain demanded it disband.

The IRA said it has broken off talks with the international disarmament commission because of what it calls Britain's refusal to honor commitments under a 1998 Northern Ireland peace agreement.

The IRA told the weekly Republican News newspaper that it would continue to abide by a cease-fire.

The announcement is a further blow to the already troubled peace process.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair this month suspended Northern Ireland's local government. He then called for the IRA to disarm. But the IRA rejected the Blair appeal as "unreasonable."

The IRA has been accused of spying on Mr. Blair's government through its political wing, the Sinn Fein party. Angered by the spy scandal, Northern Ireland's pro-British politicians want Sinn Fein excluded from provincial government posts.