The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or the Belfast Agreement (irish: Comhaonté Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaonté Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots: Guid Friday Greeance or Bilfawst Greeance) is a couple of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that put an end to most of the violence of the Troubles, a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had erupted since the late 1960s. This was an important development in the Northern Ireland peace process in the 1990s. Northern Ireland`s current system of de-decentralized government is based on the agreement. The agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 2004, negotiations were held between the two governments, the DUP, and Sinn Féin, for an agreement to restore the institutions. The talks failed, but a document published by governments detailing the changes to the Belfast agreement was known as the “comprehensive agreement.” However, on 26 September 2005, it was announced that the Provisional Republican Army of Ireland had completely closed its arsenal of weapons and had “taken it out of service”. Nevertheless, many trade unionists, especially the DUP, remained skeptical. Among the loyalist paramilitaries, only the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) had decommissioned all weapons.  Further negotiations took place in October 2006 and resulted in the St Andrews Agreement. 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 The Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), associated with the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), had withdrawn from the talks three months earlier.
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. In the Republic of Ireland, voters were asked whether they would allow the state to sign the agreement and authorize the necessary constitutional changes (nineteen constitutional amendments from Ireland) to facilitate it. The citizens of both countries had to approve the agreement to implement it. In 2010, the signing of the Hillsborough Agreement enabled the transfer of police and judicial powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which began later that year. It also included an agreement on controversial parades that had led to persistent conflicts between communities. The agreement reaffirmed its commitment to “mutual respect, civil rights and religious freedoms for all within the Community.” The multi-party agreement recognized “the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance with regard to linguistic diversity,” particularly with regard to the Irish language, Ulster Scots and the languages of other ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, “all of which are part of the cultural richness of the Island of Ireland.”