A Brave Handshake

Northern Ireland's polarized, too often violent politics require extraordinary bridge-building. Prime Minister Tony Blair spanned a huge gap in trust when he met, and shook hands with, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams.

Can he now temper the resulting outrage among Unionists enough to bring both sides to fruitful negotiations on ending the province's strife?

It's early to say. But we have no doubt that Mr. Blair's emphasis on treating all sides as "parts of humanity" is an indispensable step in the right direction.

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