President Bush has thrown his weight behind new proposals to end violence in Northern Ireland. The President telephoned the British and Irish Prime Ministers Wednesday to encourage them to continue working toward peace.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says President Bush believes the proposals put to political parties in Northern Ireland are balanced in calling for both the handover of Irish Republican Army weapons and a reduction in British military involvement.
"The President believes the package is fair and that it charts the way forward in areas central to the Good Friday Agreement," Mr. Fleischer said. "The proposals also recognize that a commitment to democratic governance and normalized security requires all parties to renounce violence and deal decisively with paramilitary weapons."
Mr. Fleischer says the President believes substantial progress in IRA disarmament is an essential part of the proposal. He urged all parties in Northern Ireland to reflect carefully on the plan and take steps necessary to implement the 1998 Good Friday peace accord.