The DUP leader, Ian Paisley, told RTÉ News that he wants General De Chastelain to reopen the issue of decommissioning following today's reports by the Independent Monitoring Commission and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning.

Ian Paisley said that originally his party had been told all IRA guns had been decommissioned but that he had recently received a letter from the General saying that his commission ‘may have been misinformed’.

The DUP leader said that having seen the IMC report he did not think that republican paramilitaries had made any progress.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has called for the resumption of powersharing in Northern Ireland. Dermot Ahern was speaking in London following the publication of the reports.

Mr Ahern said the IRA had made significant progress in switching off its paramilitary machine. He said the IMC report contained enough to re-start talks on the resumption of powersharing.

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, told MPs earlier that, while it was crucial that all criminal activity must cease, there had been considerable progress and that the IRA's decommissioning statement last July remained significant.

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning today said it had investigated media reports and suggestions by security sources in Northern Ireland that individuals and groups in the IRA had retained a range of arms.

However, the head of the IICD, General John de Chastelain, and his colleagues have concluded that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the assessment they made about IRA weapons decommissioning in September remains correct.