The agreement reaffirmed its commitment to “mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all in the community.” The multi-party agreement recognised “the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance with regard to linguistic diversity”, in particular with regard to the Irish language, the Ulster Scots and the languages of other ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, “all of which are part of the cultural richness of the island of Ireland”. In a context of political violence during the unrest, the agreement committed participants to “exclusively democratic and peaceful ways to resolve disputes over political issues.” This had two aspects: the author was an economic adviser to French Prime Minister Michel Rocard in 1998, when Rocard negotiated an agreement to restore civil peace in New Caledonia, in the South-West Pacific. The agreement establishes a framework for the establishment and number of institutions in three “policy areas”. The Irish backstop was a protocol to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (unsinverted) that the UK would have held (in general) in the customs union of the European Union and Northern Ireland (in particular) on certain aspects of the European internal market, until a solution was found to avoid a hard border. This should not undermine the Good Friday Agreement and preserve the integrity of the European internal market. It would only have been put into operation if there had been no other solutions before the end of the (agreed) transitional period. In the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, the special regime for Northern Ireland would end if a solution could be found that would provide a border as immortal as it has become since the Good Friday Brexit Agreement. Such a solution has yet to be identified from June 2019 [update]. Partial solutions were proposed, but were not considered appropriate. On 17 October 2019, EU heads of state or government and Boris Johnson agreed on a revised withdrawal agreement that replaced the backstop with a new protocol.   In essence, this project would de facto cover Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and in the internal market for goods (including the introduction of EU VAT), while allowing Britain to derogate from one another. In December 2019, the British Labour Party announced that it had received a document from the UK Department of Finance using the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which appears to show that the Prime Minister`s draft agreement would require certain types of two-way customs controls between Britain and Northern Ireland.  The British government is virtually out of the equation and neither the British Parliament nor the British people have a legal right under this agreement to impede the achievement of Irish unity if they had the agreement of the people of the North and the South.
Our nation is and will remain a nation of 32 counties. Antrim and Down are and will remain a part of Ireland, just like any county in the South.  As part of the agreement, the British and Irish governments undertook to hold referendums in Northern Ireland and the Republic on 22 May 1998. The referendum in Northern Ireland is expected to approve the deal reached in the multi-party talks. . . .