The relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, First Minister and Deputy First Minister, was a sign that Northern Ireland had really changed. The Presbyterian preacher and former IRA commander were once sworn enemies, but they suddenly worked together in the same office and were nicknamed “The Chuckle Brothers” because of their good relationship. The agreement was reached between the British and Irish governments as well as eight northern Ireland political parties or groups. Three were representative of unionism: the Ulster Unionist Party, which had led unionism in Ulster since the early 20th century, and two small parties linked to loyalist paramilitaries, the Progressive Unionist Party (linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Democratic Party (the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Two of them have been widely described as nationalists: the Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Féin, the Republican party affiliated with the Provisional Republican Army.   Apart from these rival traditions, there were two other assemblies, the Inter-Community Alliance Party and the Northern Ireland Women`s Coalition. There was also the Labour coalition. U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell was sent by U.S.
President Bill Clinton to chair the talks between parties and groups.  President Clinton was clearly convinced that peace, stability and prosperity were linked. His convictions made the economy an essential part of the United States` engagement in Ireland because he set up an inter-departmental committee that examined the economic initiatives and economic potential of a stable Northern Ireland. In addition, President Clinton appointed George Mitchell, the President`s special adviser for economic initiatives for Northern Ireland, to lead the multi-party talks and to the International Council for The Decommissioning of Arms. This has highlighted the role of the White House in opening direct lines of communication. The Bush administration was less involved in relations with Northern Ireland. However, the Bush administration had a significant impact on Northern Ireland`s post-agreement, thanks to the first two special envoys, Richard Haass and Mitchell Reiss. Both had a hard-line approach to Sinn Fein and a much better understanding of unionism than their predecessors. This agreement was decisive for the issue of dismantling and police work in 2005, obtained through the withdrawal of Sinn Fein`s fundraising visas and which helped to set up the famous Sinn Fein DUP agreement, on which Northern Ireland now depends. The IRA targeted in particular the police and British army soldiers who patrolled the streets. The situation deteriorated in 1972, when 14 people were killed by British troops during a peaceful civil rights march by Catholics and Republicans in Londonderry.
The U.S. commitment to Northern Ireland was traditionally minimal until President Clinton took office. Several prominent Irish and American figures have engaged Clinton and raised concerns about discrimination and intimidation against Northern Ireland`s Catholic minority.
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