Two Northern Irish parties on opposite sides of the sectarian divide decided Saturday to take part in a new round of U.S.-led talks aimed at restarting the province's faltering peace process.
Despite expressing mutual skepticism, Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army's political ally, and the pro-British Ulster Unionists agreed to back their leaders and attend a review headed by U.S. mediator George Mitchell on Monday.
The Catholic Sinn Fein and the Protestant unionists accuse each other of being in breach of last year's Good Friday accord. Their decision to take part was crucial to the new talks and had seemed far from certain in recent days amid a new round of acrimony over whether the IRA was abiding by its cease-fire.
Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty said there had been intense debate over whether to join in the talks by members of its executive, which met in Dublin. Republican sources said the decision to proceed was down to leader Gerry Adams proposing it.