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, intergovernmental cooperation between the British and Ireland 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.  The previous text contains only four articles; It is this short text that is the legal agreement, but it contains the latter agreement in its timetables.  Technically, this proposed agreement can be distinguished as a multi-party agreement, unlike the Belfast Agreement itself.  It would be ridiculous to think that we could send five men to conclude a treaty without the right of ratification by this House. That`s the only thing that matters. It was therefore agreed that this treaty is only an agreement and that it is binding only when the D has ratified it. That is what it is all about. The participants in the agreement were composed of two sovereign states (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland), with armed forces and police forces involved in the riots.
Two political parties, Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), were linked to paramilitary organisations: the IRA (Commissional Irish Republican Army) and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), associated with the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had withdrawn from the talks three months earlier. In addition to the number of signatories[note 1], Stefan Wolff cites the following similarities and differences between the issues dealt with in the two agreements: The agreement called for the creation of an independent commission to review police rules in Northern Ireland, “including ways to promote broad community support” for these agreements. The UK government has also pledged to carry out a “large-scale review” of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. The agreement reaffirmed its commitment to “mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all within the Community.”