For decades the people of Northern Ireland lived amid civil unrest, violence and bloodshed. Clashes between British forces, who ruled the country, and freedom fighters were regular occurrences. Tensions were heightened even more by the government of Ireland's desire to see Northern Ireland reunited with its original homeland. The Good Friday Agreement ended the violence and set Northern Ireland on a new course.
The Good Friday Agreement was a peace agreement signed between Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was signed by the parties on April 10, 1998, which happened to be Good Friday.
U.S. President Bill Clinton sent retired U.S. Senator George Mitchell to help negotiate the deal.
The outline for the negotiation agenda took more than one year to complete and the negotiations lasted 700 days before an agreement was reached.
The agreement recognised Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as two sovereign states and called for the complete independence of Northern Ireland in the future.
Within the agreement, the formation of a new government was outlined, including the establishment of Northern Ireland governmental departments and a time line for elections.
The agreement called for mutual cooperation between the United Kingdom, Ireland and Northern Ireland in areas where they shared interests. Shared interests included tourism, health, the environment, transportation, education and agriculture.