The agreement helped end a period of conflict between two groups – republicans and loyalists – in a region called Troubles in Northern Ireland. The participants in the agreement were composed of two sovereign states (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland), with armed forces and police forces involved in the riots. Two political parties, Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), were linked to paramilitary organisations: the IRA (Commissional Irish Republican Army) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), associated with the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had withdrawn from the talks three months earlier. The Belfast Agreement is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, as it was concluded on Good Friday on 10 April 1998. It was an agreement between the British and Irish governments and most of northern Ireland`s political parties on how to govern Northern Ireland. Discussions that led to the agreement have focused on issues that have led to conflict in recent decades. The aim was to form a new de-defyed government for Northern Ireland, where unionists and nationalists would share power. The agreement called for the creation of an independent commission to review police rules in Northern Ireland, “including ways to promote broad community support” for these agreements. The UK government has also pledged to carry out a “large-scale review” of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. The agreement recognises Northern Ireland`s constitutional status as an integral part of the United Kingdom and reflects the wishes of the majority of citizens.
But he also established a principle of approval – that a united Ireland could emerge if and if a majority of the population of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland wanted to. In this case, the British government would be required to hold a referendum and respect the result. As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had founded Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and asserted territorial right to the whole of Ireland) and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which asserted a territorial right to Northern Ireland. The British and Irish governments and most of the northern political parties – including Sinn Féin, the SDLP and David Trimble`s UUP, which was then the main force of generalist unionism. Smaller parties representing loyalist paramilitaries also participated in the discussions leading up to the agreement. Ian Paisley`s DUP was not involved in the final discussions. A copy of the agreement was published in every assembly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so that people could read before a referendum where they could vote. It was essentially a peace agreement between the British and Irish governments and most of Northern Ireland`s political parties on how Northern Ireland should be governed.