It is the latest step on the tortuous path towards peace in Northern Ireland.
An outlawed protestant paramilitary group says it has ordered its armed units to stand down. The statement from the pro-British Loyalist Volunteer Force has prompted speculation that other armed protestant groups could follow suit. It comes as negotiators announced the end of a murderous power struggle between rival protestant paramilitaries which has recently claimed four lives. Tensions boiled over in August following the arrest of several men in connection with the feud. Loyalist paramilitaries were blamed for rioting in Belfast that left 40 police officers injured. Now however mediators brokering talks between the LVF and the larger and longer established UVF say they believe the feud is over. The LVF says its order to its paramilitaries to stand down was taken in response to the IRA’s decision to give up its arms.