Northern Irish loyalist group disarms

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The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) is the largest and last loyalist paramilitary group to lay down its arms after the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which largely put an end to three decades of violence in the region.

"Today the leadership of the Ulster Defence Association can confirm that all weaponry under its control has been put verifiably beyond use," said UDA political representative Frankie Gallagher.

The disarmament was verified by two independent witnesses, the former Church of Ireland primate, Robin Eames, and the former chairman of the Ulster Bank, George Quigley. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen welcomed the UDA's announcement as "a further significant milestone in the peace process."

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