The former U.S. senator who led the successful push for a peace accord between Protestants and Catholics arrived Sunday to try to prevent the 17-month-old deal from collapsing.
George J. Mitchell said, however, that he had no intention of repeating his two-year stewardship of the negotiations that produced the Good Friday accord of 1998. In an interview broadcast Sunday on British television, Mitchell said that he was not prepared "to listen to the same arguments over and over again" and that he intended to finish within weeks.
The British and Irish governments have asked Mitchell to try to broker a compromise that would allow the implementation of two key sections of the accord -- the formation of a Protestant-Catholic government, and the gradual disarmament of the Irish Republican Army.
The Ulster Unionists, the province's major pro-British Protestant party, have refused to form any government that includes the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party until the IRA starts to disarm. The outlawed IRA insists that it won't.