Northern Ireland political parties that approved the agreement were also invited to consider the creation of an independent advisory forum, which would represent civil society, with members with expertise on social, cultural, economic and other issues, and would be appointed by both administrations. In 2002, a framework structure was agreed for the North-South Advisory Forum, and in 2006 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to support its implementation. 4. We reaffirm our total and absolute commitment to exclusively democratic and peaceful means of resolving political disputes and our opposition to any use or threat of force by others for any political purpose, whether under this Agreement or otherwise. The vague wording of some so-called “constructive ambiguities” helped ensure the adoption of the agreement and delayed debate on some of the most controversial issues. These include extra-military dismantling, police reform and the standardisation of Northern Ireland. 8 Hayward, K., All simple solutions for the Irish border after Brexit do not recognise complex realities, 21 September 2018, ukandeu.ac.uk/all-simple-solutions-to-the-post-brexit-irish-border-fail-to-acknowledge-complex-realities/. In light of the policy principles set out in the agreement, the Commission will review the work of the police in Northern Ireland and, on the basis of its findings, will present proposals for future police structures and regulations, including ways to promote broad COMMUNITY support for these schemes. 34. A citizens` advisory forum is set up.
It will be made up of representatives from the business community, trade unions and the voluntary sectors, as well as other sectors agreed by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. It will act as an advisory mechanism on social, economic and cultural issues. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister will provide administrative support to the Citizens` Forum by appointment and set guidelines for the selection of representatives of the Citizens` Forum. 1. We, the participants in the multi-party negotiations, believe that the agreement we negotiated represents a historic opportunity for a fresh start. The IRA renewed its ceasefire on 20 July 1997 and paved the way for Sinn Féin to participate in the discussions between the parties that had begun under Mitchell`s presidency. However, the issue of decommissioning persisted and the British and Irish governments tried to thwart the issue instead of letting the process derail again. As a result, Ian Paisley`s Hard-Line Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) party came out of the talks and never returned. The DUP refused any concessions on Northern Ireland`s constitutional position or negotiated with Sinn Féin, which it considered a terrorist. Although it was deeply unhappy, the more moderate UUP remained in the discussions. Faced with the DUP`s stated desire to halt the talks, Mitchell later wrote in his memoirs that his decision to leave had indeed helped reach an agreement.
However, it is expected to have a lasting influence on Northern Ireland`s policy, as the DUP`s opposition to the Good Friday Agreement has severely hampered its implementation. Sinn Féin participated in all-party talks on 15 September 1997, after adhesing to the Mitchell Principles.