[JURIST] The Irish Republican Army [Wikipedia backgrounder] announced Thursday that it would end its "armed campaign" and instead make its fight for Northern Ireland a purely political one. The move was characterized by British Prime Minister Tony Blair [press release] and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern [Wikipedia profile] as "a momentous and historic development" [Ireland Online report]. The IRA has observed a cease-fire since 1997, but officials are still cautious about a promise to end armed action altogether [International Herald Tribune report]. There is interest from all sides in creating a new Catholic-Protestant leadership for Northern Ireland, but a lasting agreement has never materialized, in part because of actions of the IRA. AP has more.