[IWAR] US/IRELAND envoy favored IRA?

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Date: Tue Jan 20 1998 - 10:22:55 PST

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    Posted at 9:06 a.m. PST Tuesday, January 20, 1998 
                        U.S. envoy: Description is `unfortunate'
       DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) -- U.S. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith today called
       it ``unfortunate'' that a former American envoy said she favored the
       Kennedy Smith did not respond to claims that the Clinton administration
       leaked secret intelligence to the Irish Republican Army, but said
       Northern Ireland peace talks justified U.S. policy in the region.
       Raymond Seitz, U.S. ambassador to Britain from 1991-94, said in his
       memoirs excerpted in a British newspaper this week that Kennedy Smith
       was an ``ardent apologist'' for the IRA.
       He also maintained that the Clinton administration leaked British
       intelligence about Northern Ireland to IRA sympathizers in 1994, around
       the time Gerry Adams, head of the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party, was given
       a U.S. visa.
       ``It is unfortunate that Mr. Seitz has chosen to personalize this,''
       Kennedy Smith, a sister of Sen. Edward Kennedy and a member of America's
       foremost Irish Catholic family, said in a statement. ``Let the peace
       process talk for itself.''
       ``Party talks are under way and the outlines of a potential settlement
       are being discussed,'' she said. ``The parties themselves have taken
       primary credit for this, but I think history will record that President
       Clinton and his administration played a major part.''
       Against a background of increasing violence, peace talks are taking
       place about a new way of governing British-ruled Northern Ireland with
       power-sharing between the Protestant majority and the Catholic minority.
       In Washington, White House press secretary Mike McCurry said today there
       was no reason to believe Kennedy Smith passed sensitive information to
       IRA sympathizers.
       ``I have no basis to believe that that's true and good reason to believe
       it's not true,'' said McCurry.
       And in Belfast today, John Hume, leader of Northern Ireland's largest
       Roman Catholic party and an opponent of the IRA, said Seitz's comments
       were untrue, irresponsible and ``expose his ignorance of the situation
       in Northern Ireland.''
       Hume said he had also urged a U.S. visa for Adams as essential to
       getting an IRA cease-fire.
       The IRA and the two main pro-British Protestant military groups have
       declared cease-fires and their political representatives are at the
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