“Declaration of Support” from “The Good Friday Agreement”
“The Good Friday Agreement” was signed by most of Northern Ireland’s political parties in Belfast on April 10, 1998 and passed by referendum by voters in Ireland and Northern Ireland in May. “The Declaration of Support” (the first page of the Agreement) announces a “new beginning” for Northern Ireland by establishing the commitment by both political groups (British Unionist and Irish Nationalist) to self-governance and to resolving political and cultural differences by “exclusively democratic and peaceful means.” John Hume and David Trimble, two principle creators of “The Agreement,” both won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998.
DECLARATION OF SUPPORT
- We, the participants in the multi-party negotiations, believe that the agreement we have negotiated offers a truly historic opportunity for a new beginning.
- The tragedies of the past have left a deep and profoundly regrettable legacy of suffering. We must never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families. But we can best honour them through a fresh start, in which we firmly dedicate ourselves to the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance, and mutual trust, and to the protection and vindication of the human rights of all.
- We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between these islands.
- We reaffirm our total and absolute commitment to exclusively democratic and peaceful means of resolving differences on political issues, and our opposition to any use or threat of force by others for any political purpose, whether in regard to this agreement or otherwise.
- We acknowledge the substantial differences between our continuing, and equally legitimate, political aspirations. However, we will endeavour to strive in every practical way towards reconciliation and rapprochement within the framework of democratic and agreed arrangements. We pledge that we will, in good faith, work to ensure the success of each and every one of the arrangements to be established under this agreement. It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements - an Assembly in Northern Ireland, a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland - are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other.
- Accordingly, in a spirit of concord, we strongly commend this agreement to the people, North and South, for their approval.