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 IRA. 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 talks. [INLINE] [INLINE] Return to top[ISMAP]-This image allows you to access site resources 1997 - 1998 Mercury Center. The information you receive online from Mercury Center is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing, retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material.
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