The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, December 12, 1997, Page 2, Image 2

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    Friday, December 12,1997 Page 2
Blair meets with Sinn Fein leader
LONDON (AP) - Punching the
air in triumph Thursday and declar
ing it a “moment in history,” Sinn
Fein leader Gerry Adams became the
first political ally of the IRA to meet
a British prime minister in London
in 76 years.
Protesters shouted “Murderer!”
through the railing gates at the end
of Downing Street as Adams’ Sinn
Fein delegation left Prime Minister
Tony Blair’s official residence after
the one-hour meeting.
“In many ways, the engagement
can be described as a moment in his
tory,” Adams told more than 100
reporters outside the prime minis
ter’s office. “All of the hurt and grief
and division that has come from
British involvement in Irish affairs
has to end.”
Just yards away, supporters
waved the green, white and orange
tricolor - the Irish flag, a favorite
Irish Republican Army emblem -
and chanted in support.
The meeting appeared to have
made no substantive difference to
the talks in Belfast, where negotia
tors, including Sinn Fein envoys, are
supposed to agree on a new political
deal for the British-run province of
Northern Ireland by May.
But it was heavy with symbol
ism, underlining in many Protestant
eyes the IRA’s big coup - getting into
the negotiations through Sinn Fein
without surrendering any weapons.
Aides said Blair sat opposite
Adams at the Cabinet table, looked
him directly in the eye and asked if
Sinn Fein and its ally, the IRA -
which has observed a cease-fire
since July - were truly committed to
peaceful means. Adams said they
“When people say to me, ‘How
can you meet Sinn Fein and Gerry
Adams,’ I say to them, ‘If you are not
prepared to sit down and talk - pro
vided they obey the same rules as
everybody else in coming into the
process - then you will never move it
forward,”’ Blair said in a Sky TV
interview after the meeting.
Leaders of the pro-British
Protestant majority in Northern
Ireland reacted with both suspicion
and outright fury after TV news
repeatedly ran pictures of Sinn Fein’s
seven-member delegation posing on
the steps of 10 Downing St.
The entrance is a few hundred
yards from where the Catholic-based
IRA landed mortars in 1991. One
shell thudded into the back garden of
Downing Street while Blair’s prede
cessor, John Major, was holding a
Cabinet meeting, though no one was
That attack was the second IRA
attempt in the past 15 years to kill a
British prime minister. In 1984,
Margaret Thatcher escaped injury
when the IRA bombed a Brighton
hotel where she and most of her
Cabinet were staying, killing five
The last time an IRA leader was
in Downing Street was 1921, when
Michael Collins met David Lloyd
George for treaty negotiations that
led to partition: The six counties that
make up predominantly Protestant
Northern Ireland remained part of
the United Kingdom, while the other
26 counties formed what is now the
Irish Republic.
On Thursday, the main Protestant
party, the Ulster Unionists, predicted
the IRA will return to violence with
in months, and rejected a renewed
suggestion from Sinn Fein that its
leader, David Trimble, meet Adams.
“It was a significantly good
moment for the IRA ... the epitome
of the ballot-box card that they play
along with the gun,” Ulster Unionist
spokesman Ken Maginnis said.
The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of
the smaller, more hard-line
Democratic Unionist Party, declared
of Adams’s deputy, Martin
McGuinness, “If he wants peace, let
him surrender the weapons of war.”
Paisley is boycotting the Belfast
talks because of the presence of Sinn
Fein, whose delegation includes
nationalists convicted of IRA mem
bership and violence.
In a series of interviews on
British and Irish television, Blair
depicted his Labor Party govern
ment as taking risks for the sake of
Meanwhile, an IRA-convicted
double murderer, who escaped from
Northern Ireland’s Maze prison on
Wednesday, remained on the run.
Adams publicly wished Liam
Averell “good luck” before meeting
Blair - a remark British officials
said “had not been helpful.”
JNetanyahu agrees to withdraw trom West bank
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — After
weeks of foot-dragging, Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is
ready to agree to a more significant
pullout from the West Bank in
response to U.S. pressure, Israeli
media reported Thursday.
Although officials are not pub
? licly confirming specific/*, .{he
| Maariv daily reported that Israel will
, propose withdrawi^gitrQQps^frprp! at
| least 10 percent of the West Bank.
However, Netanyahu adviser
David Bar-Illan said it was unclear
whether a detailed proposal for a troop
redeployment could be put together by
Wednesday, when Netanyahu is to
meet in Paris with U.S. Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright.
Albright has said she expects to
hear details then on a significant pull
back offer. The Americans expect
Israel to hand over at least 12 percent
of the West Bank in the next pullback
- one of three promised by mid-1998,
according media reports. ,
Bar-Illan denied reports that
; AJfyrightwas' increasingly impatient
with the Israeli government. “The
Americans understand that this is a
difficult political maneuver for
Netanyahu, and that we are dis
cussing the future of Israel,” he told
The Associated Press.
The initial plan floated by Israeli
officials last month said Israel would
hand over only 6 percent to 8 percent
of the West Bank to the Palestinians
in the upcoming pullback.
The Palestinians, who now have
full or partial autonomy in 27 percent
of the West Bank, expect much more
- and it was not certain that even the
improved offer would be accepted. A
: first pullout offered in March was
rejected by the Palestinians as tbo
skimpy, and never implemented. The
Palestinians also expect to be in con
trol of 90 percent of the West Bank
after the third pullback.
Netanyahu, meanwhile, is under
pressure from right-wing coalition
allies to hold firm and not yield too
much land. Netanyahu met with set
tler leaders on Thursday to try to reas
sure them, but did not outline his
withdrawal offer in detail, said
Shlomo Silber, a spokesman for the
Jewish Settlers’ Council.
The settlers have threatened
protests against Netanyahu. “It does
n’t matter which party is in power -
what matters is their actions,” said
settler leader Uri Ariel.
Maariv reported that Netanyahu
and Foreign Minister David Levy -
who is pressing for a speedy and gen
erous pullback - decided in a 90
minute meeting Wednesday to hand
over at least 10 percent of the West
“I will not go into any numbers
but it’s clear that... we are preparing
for the important meeting (with
Albright),” Levy said Thursday. “It’s
very important that the prime minis
ter will come with clear material in
hand.” 5
Bar-IUan ^aid before deckling on
the scope of the pullback, Netanyahu
first needs to win the support of key
Cabinet ministers for a tentative map
of Israel’s territorial demands in a
future final peace settlement. Such a
map is to be discussed Sunday.
Treaty too easy on developing countries, Republicans say
preview of the ratification battle to
come, Republicans complained
Thursday that the global warming
treaty signed in Japan would let
developing countries off too. easily
and send American jobs overseas.
Vice President A1 Gore quickly
said the Clinton administration
would not send the treaty to the
Senate unless some Third World
nations agree to its terms.
“We will not submit this agree
ment for ratification until key
developing nations participate in
this effort,” Gore said at a White
House news conference. “This is a
global problem that will require a
global solution.”
Meanwhile, President Clinton
said skeptics must not be allowed
to rule the debate.
“I see already, the papers are
full of people saying, ‘The sky is
falling! The sky is falling!”’
Clinton said in Miami.
■ I _ _
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* ' - . . • •
“Every time we’ve tried to
improve the American environ
ment in the last 25 or 30 years,
somebody has predicted that it
would wreck the economy. And the
air is cleaner. The water’s cleaner.
The food supply is safer,” he said.
“So don’t believe the critics. Give
us a chance to make the case.”
The White House will be doing
a lot of that over the next year, dur
ing which industry opponents,
Republicans and labor unions are
certain to boost an already mas
sive campaign against the treaty.
As part of the pact, the United
States would agree to reduce its
emissions of greenhouse gases to
7 percent below 1990 levels by
the years 2008-2012. rp,
“The stakes are simply too
high, environmentally, economi
cally and morally, for us to allow
the special interests to get in the
way of the common interests of
all humankind,” Gore said.
The political stakes are high,
too. Even before the United
States joined 158 other nations in
signing the agreement, congres
sional Republicans, business
interests and many of the labor
unions normally allied with
Democrats named a list of prob
lems they said would keep it from
winning the 67 votes needed for
Senate ratification.
Industries opposed to the
agreement already have mounted
a multimillion-dollar advertising
campaign that many Democrats
have feared would sway public
opinion against the treaty and the
Clinton administration.
With the 1998 midterm elec
tions approaching, th&iwions that
could oe critical in some states
already have crossed swords with
the White House over a bill to give
“fast track” trade negotiation
authority to the president.
Several Republicans made a
point of aiming statements at tradi
tional Democratic constituencies.
“This international treaty is
bad for working people with man
ufacturing jobs, specifically those
individuals In our coal, steel and
automotive industries,” said Rep.
BobNey, R-Ohio.
. The next presidential election,
still three years away, has played a
prominent role in the treaty’s after
math. -
The chairman of the
Republican National Committee
accused Gore of using the-treaty to
distract voters from legal ques
tions over his fund-raising prac
tices as he gears up to run for pres
“It is clear that A1 Gore is using
the Kyoto gathering to develop an
issue to exploit in his presidential
bid in 2000,” said Jim Nicholson.
One likely Republican presi
dential contender, Steve Forbes,
blasted the administration for
agreeing to a treaty he said would
raise taxes and heating costs. The.
nation’s military, too, would be
threatened because it would be
required to cut back on its use of
fuel, Forbes said.
“This would radically under
mine U.S. sovereignty and our
national security and is completely
unacceptable,” Forbes said in a
statement. “Who says socialism is
dead? Diehard Marxists are green
with envy at what the Clinton
administration is trying to pull
Frank Murkowski of Alaska
was one of several Republican sen
ators who declared the treaty
“dead on arrival.”
And Democrat Robert Byrd of
West Virginia, though calling the
treaty “a major new beginning,”
stopped short of endorsing it.
He said it “does not meet the
standard” of a July Senate resolu
tion because developing countries
don’t face binding commitments.
“Nor are the impacts on the U.S. of
the agreement yet adequately
understood to assess with confi
dence that we will avoid substan
tial damage to our economy,” Byrd
But Gore dismissed the criti
cism as coming from special inter
ests and politicians who haven’t
considered the big picture.
“The American people are
ahead of the politicians where
cleaning up the environment is
concerned,” Gore said. “They want
cleaner air, they want cleaner
water, they want less pollution and
they want new technology that cre
ates new jobs and new businesses.”