Irish Premier Welcomes New Talks on N. Ireland

IRELAND'S new prime minister, Albert Reynolds, called Saturday for a new path to peace in Northern Ireland in talks beginning this week.

"The people of the North deserve a better way of life. We must stop thinking so much in the past and start thinking in the future," Mr. Reynolds told his Fianna Fail party in his debut leadership speech.

A new round of peace talks bringing together Catholic and Protestant politicians in Northern Ireland is due to begin today. The talks will exclude Sinn Fein, the political wing of the guerrilla Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The peace initiative hit deadlock last July, but is being revived after a flare-up of sectarian violence. Some 3,000 people have died in two decades of strife in Northern Ireland.

Reynolds, who took over as prime minister last month, welcomed the new talks, which are expected to include the Dublin government in later stages, describing Northern Ireland as "a constant personal grief" to him.

There would be no place for the IRA and Sinn Fein at the talks unless they renounced violence, Reynolds said.

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