The British government is virtually out of the game and neither parliament nor the British people have, as part of this agreement, the legal right to obstruct the achievement of Irish unity if it had the consent of the people of the North and The South… Our nation is and will remain a nation of 32 circles. Antrim and Down are and will remain a part of Ireland, just like any southern county.  The main themes addressed by Sunningdale and dealt with in the Belfast Agreement are the principle of self-determination, the recognition of the two national identities, Anglo-Irish intergovernmental cooperation and legal procedures for compulsory power-sharing, such as inter-community voting and the D`Hondt system for appointing ministers to the executive.   Former IRA member and journalist Tommy McKearney says the main difference is the British government`s intention to negotiate a comprehensive agreement including the IRA and the most intransigent unionists.  With regard to the right to self-determination, two qualifications are recorded by the writer Austen Morgan. First, the transfer of territory from one state to another must be done through an international agreement between the British and Irish governments. Second, the population of Northern Ireland can no longer be alone in united Ireland; They need not only the Irish government, but also the people of their neighbouring country, Ireland, to support unity. Mr Morgan also pointed out that, unlike the Irish Act 1949 and the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, drawn up under Sunningdale, the 1998 agreement and the resulting British legislation explicitly provide for the possibility of a unified Ireland.  This agreement gave rise to a new government that was to share power between the Unionists and the nationalists. On Friday, April 10, 1998, at 5:30 p.m., an American politician named George Mitchell, who led the talks, said: “I am pleased to announce that the two governments and political parties in Northern Ireland have reached an agreement.” As part of the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing Inter-Parliamentary Commission in English-Irish. Prior to the agreement, the body was composed only of parliamentarians from the British and Irish assemblies.
In 2001, as proposed by the agreement, it was extended to include parliamentarians of all members of the Anglo-Irish Council. The agreement was reached between the British and Irish governments as well as eight northern Ireland political parties or groups. Three were representative of unionism: the Ulster Unionist Party, which had led unionism in Ulster since the early 20th century, and two small parties linked to loyalist paramilitaries, the Progressive Unionist Party (linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Democratic Party (the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Two of them have been widely described as nationalists: the Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Féin, the Republican party affiliated with the Provisional Republican Army.   Apart from these rival traditions, there were two other assemblies, the Inter-Community Alliance Party and the Northern Ireland Women`s Coalition. There was also the Labour coalition. U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell was sent by U.S. President Bill Clinton to chair the talks between parties and groups.  The agreement was approved by voters across the Island of Ireland in two referendums on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, in the 1998 referendum on the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, voters were asked if they supported the multi-party agreement.