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Report: Irish Republican Army Now Focusing on Politics, Not Terror

The commission monitoring disarmament in Northern Ireland says the Irish Republican Army is no longer engaged in terrorism, and is on a political path.

Tuesday's report by the Independent Monitoring Commission fuels hopes for progress at next week's meeting aimed at reviving Northern Ireland's power-sharing government.

The British and Irish governments both said the commission's findings could pave the way for an agreement, but Northern Ireland's unionist leader Ian Paisley said the nationalist IRA still must demonstrate it no longer supports criminality and terror.

Northern Ireland officials face a November 24 deadline to reconvene the power-sharing assembly put in place in 1998. The assembly was dissolved in 2002 after unionist charges of IRA spying.

If Northern Ireland's leaders fail to meet the deadline, the province will remain under direct British rule.

Unionists, who want to remain a part of Britain, have refused to negotiate with the IRA's political wing, Sinn Fein, until they are convinced the IRA has abandoned violence.

The IRA has said it has given up its armed battle for a united Ireland.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.