September 7, 1994
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- Officials said Wednesday security measures have been scaled down in Northern Ireland following the IRA's cease-fire, but the British government remains skeptical the truce is permanent.
Meanwhile, unabashed after being thrown out of a meeting by British Prime Minister John Major, a hardline Protestant leader called Major a dictator and signaled he doubted Major's pledge that no secret deals were made with the IRA.
"This is what Hitler said, 'You are to believe me or you go to the gas chamber,"' the Rev. Ian Paisley boomed at a news conference. "I will continue to expose his lying on TV. Who does he think he is? He is trying to be a dictator."
On Tuesday, Major ordered Paisley, leader of the small Democratic Unionist Party, out of his Downing Street office after Paisley refused three times to say he believed Major's pledges of no secret deals with the IRA.
The tension underlined feuding and fears among pro-British unionists about the new situation, in contrast to burgeoning unity among Irish nationalists.
On Tuesday, while Paisley and Major confronted one another, Ireland's prime minister met and clasped the hand of Gerry Adams, leader of the outlawed Irish Republican Army's political ally, the Sinn Fein party.
Britain's top official in Northern Ireland, Sir Patrick Mayhew, announced the security cutback but gave no specifics.
"Certain things are not in place that were," he told reporters. "The (military) commanders and the chief constable in particular, who is in the lead here, believe it is right to make a reduction in proportion to what is seen as a reduced threat."
Northern Ireland has been heavily guarded by British troops and local police through 25 years of sectarian feuding and a violent campaign by the IRA against British rule. About 19,000 soldiers are in the province.
A big security checkpoint outside Belfast has been dismantled and patrols on the streets by armored vehicles are less conspicuous. But helicopters still clatter over the Roman Catholic ghettoes of Belfast a week after the IRA announced a cease-fire.
Since the cease-fire there has been no IRA violence, but outlawed Protestant paramilitary groups have bombed a Sinn Fein building and shot a Catholic man to death. Paisley said he was pleased by his confrontation with Major who, he said, shouted at him and then told him:
"Get out of this room! Never come back until you're prepared to say I speak the truth." Major showed himself "in this true colors," Paisley said, adding, "I will not be gagged."
In Shannon, western Ireland, Vice President Al Gore met with Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds and said the United States was considering increased aid following the IRA cease-fire.
Asked whether the United States believed the truce was permanent despite the IRA's refusal to use that word, Gore told reporters,
"I believe the (IRA's) statement speaks for itself."
Britain has promised to meet with Sinn Fein within three months of a permanent cease-fire. But Major says he is not convinced the IRA met that requirement by announcing a "complete cessation of military operations."
Reynolds, in marked contrast, immediately accepted the IRA pledge as sufficient.
Reynolds has been meeting party leaders in advance of an Irish-organized National Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. The two main Protestant unionist parties in Northern Ireland have refused to join.
However, the joint goal that the British and Irish governments announced in December is for all parties to negotiate a future for Northern Ireland. The two governments pledged to implement any settlement acceptable to a majority Northern Ireland's people.
- END QUOTE -