The Irish Republican Army (IRA) has declared a new ceasefire which is to come into force at midday on 20 July 1997.
In a statement made to RTÉ News, and recorded by hand into a notebook, the IRA announced,
We have ordered the unequivocal restoration of the ceasefire of August 1994. All units have been instructed accordingly.
In the statement, the leadership of the IRA explained why the 1994 ceasefire broke down, blaming the previous British government and the Unionists for blocking any possibility of real or inclusive negotiations.
There is now growing optimism that the ceasefire statement will enable Sinn Féin to participate in all party peace talks scheduled to take place in Stormont, the Northern Ireland parliament buildings, on 15 September 1997. At a news conference in Belfast, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams spoke of
calling on Unionist leaders
To seize the moment.
Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) John Hume paid tribute to British Prime Minister Tony Blair for making peace in Ireland his priority. He believes the challenge now is for all parties to get to the table with the British and Irish governments to create lasting stability and peace.
I hope that my dream comes true, that the next century, a few years away will be the first century, in our island history, in which we will have no killing in our streets.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 July 1997. The reporter is Charlie Bird.