Breaking news is that an agreement has been reached. I believe this may be the rough terms, with minor differences. --MW Northern Ireland peace document revealed Friday, April 10, 1998 Published at 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK Northern Ireland peace document revealed The parties in Northern Ireland are in the final stages of considering the peace settlement document. A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair said a few things still needed to be ironed out as the parties were tabling some amendments. "We are not there yet," he said, but added that there were no "significant, insurmountable, problems." Details of the peace proposals A version of the 67-page document has been seen by a BBC correspondent. It covers a new assembly, cross-border bodies and a Council of the Isles. The proposed assembly will have more than 100 seats elected by proportional representation. It will initially be set up as a "shadow body" for a period of around six months while there is a period of liaison with the British and Irish governments over planned new cross-border bodies. If the assembly does not manage to agree at the end of that deadline, th loopbe UK Government will suspend it. The UK Governemnt will change the Government of Ireland Act to include a consent clause. The Irish Government will also change Articles 2 and 3 of its constitution which claims the territory of Northern Ireland. After the parties have finished their individual assessments, they will go into a final meeting which will consider any last minute amendments. The details of the agreement are then expected to be announced officially later on Friday. The final agreement will be posted to every household in Northern Ireland and put to a referendum on May 22, according to British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman. A referendum will also be held in the Irish Republic, but probably not on the same day. Parties optimistic Earlier on Friday most of the political leaders sounded positive. Mr Blair's official spokesman said: "All in all, when you put it together, it is genuinely a new beginning for Northern Ireland." Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews said the prospects for a deal were "very, very positive. The leader of the non-sectarian Alliance Party, Lord Alderdice, described the deal which now appeared within grasp as "quite extraordinary." He said: "We have all been working on this for such a long time and until relatively recently the differences between some of the participants were huge. "By setting a deadline, by putting in enormous energy, gaps have been closed." The BBC's correspondent Tom Coulter said he had seen members of the nationalist SDLP hugging, kissing and celebrating inside the building. Ulster Unionist Party deputy leader John Taylor was a little more cautious but revised his forecast that there was only a 4% of 5% chance of an agreement. "There is a 75% chance of an agreement emerging," he said. David Ervine of the Progressive Unionist Party, which represents the UVF paramilitary, sounded euphoric. He said: "It's a historic occasion. We are very upbeat." David Adams, of the Ulster Democratic Party, the political wing of the paramilitary UDA, said a huge effort had gone into achieving an agreement. He asked: "Isn't it much better we have spilled sweat than spilled blood?" Outstanding problems Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin indicated that agreement had been reached on the main issues. He said some key issue like prisoners and policing remained to be agreed. But he appeared to suggest a deal would be agreed by not ruling out the possibility of Sinn Fein members taking their seats in a new assembly. Paisley protests Overnight,, hundreds of loyalists opposed to the deal broke into the grounds of the Stormont estate. Riot police with dogs held them back, but the Rev Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionists, who refused to take part in the same talks as Sinn Fein, was allowed through. Mr Paisley then held a stormy press conference where he denounced the peace process and accused Protestants involved in it as "selling out" their constituents.
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