Although the Irish Republican Army says otherwise, the chairman of Northern Ireland's successful peace talks says he's confident the IRA will eventually disarm as required by the accord.

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who led 22 months of talks that concluded with a sweeping compromise accord April 10, made his prediction even after the IRA - in its first comment on the accord - ruled out complying with the provision that it gradually hand over its hidden arsenal to international inspectors."I believe strongly that there must be the total decommissioning of all paramilitary arms," Mitchell said.

"The participants themselves said it was an important part of the negotiation and an important part of the agreement. I believe in the decommissioning of arms. I believe that it must and will eventually happen," he told Ulster Television during a brief stop in Belfast.

But Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, whose IRA-allied party hasn't formally endorsed the agreement he helped negotiate, says people shouldn't be surprised that the IRA plans to retain its weaponry.