The Longest Negotiation: British Policy, IRA Strategy and the Making of the Northern Ireland Peace Settlement

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Abstract

This article offers a new analysis of the Northern Ireland peace settlement through an examination of the pivotal relationship between two key actors: the British state and the Provisional Republican movement that included Sinn Féin and the IRA. It traces the negotiating relationship between these key parties and argues that the ending of violent conflict in the 1990s can best be understood as the outcome of a long bargaining process between these two actors that was conducted both tacitly and explicitly over a span of more than two decades. It concludes that the development of a cooperative relationship between the British state and the Provisional leadership and the active coordination of British policy and republican strategy were the crucial elements in securing an end to violence in the 1990s.

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