Northern Ireland peacemakers warn of new dangers 20 years on

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The leaders who brokered a peace deal for Northern Ireland in 1998 have marked its 20th anniversary by warning about new dangers for the region.


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined Irish and Northern Irish politicians in Belfast to mark the breakthrough on April 10, 1998 that called an end to 30 years of sectarian violence in which around 3,600 people died.

But the collapse early last year of the power-sharing administration at the heart of that deal meant there was no devolved government to greet them – and little sign of the province’s Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists resolving the differences that have again divided them.

“We have to be very, very careful,” said former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who chaired the talks that led to the agreement, when asked by Irish state broadcaster RTE if there was a danger of a return to violence. “Nothing in life is guaranteed.”

The April the 10th, 1998 deal ended 30 years of sectarian violence in which more than 3,600 people died.

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