Perhaps the best way to characterize the agency`s role is to say that circumstances gave each of the major players a reasonably favorable hand that facilitated the deal, but everyone played the hand quite skillfully.99 Everyone saw the way forward that led to the deal earlier than many others. It is certainly possible to imagine that other people who could have plausibly been in their place – even those who shared the same basic approach to the conflict – did not seal the deal when it came into being. At the same time, the fact that the deal eventually came into effect through a pact with Paisley as prime minister reflects the power of the forces pushing to end the fighting. The agency played an important role in the exact timing and terms of the agreement, but arguably a much smaller role in the broader abandonment of violence. The agreement reached was that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and will remain so until a majority of the population of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so wishes. If this happens, the UK and Irish governments will have a “binding commitment” to implement this decision. The direct London regime ended in Northern Ireland when power was formally transferred to the new Northern Ireland Assembly, the North-South Council of Ministers and the British-Irish Council when the original regulations of the British-Irish Agreement entered into force on 2 December 1999.    Article 4(2) of the United Kingdom-Ireland Agreement (Agreement between the British and Irish Governments implementing the Belfast Agreement) requires both governments to inform each other in writing of compliance with the conditions for the entry into force of the United Kingdom-Ireland Agreement. entry into force should take place upon receipt of the last of the two notifications.  The British government agreed to attend a televised ceremony at Iveagh House in Dublin, the Irish Foreign Office.
Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, took part early on 2 December 1999. He spoke with David Andrews, the Irish Foreign Secretary. Shortly after the ceremony, at 10:30.m., the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, signed the declaration formally amending Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution. He then announced to the Dáil that the British-Irish Agreement had entered into force (including certain agreements additional to the Belfast Agreement).   Many have maintained the process that led to the 1998 agreement as a model for successful conflict resolution. Of course, whether the process contributed to success depends on the definition of success. There is little doubt that the agreement has reduced inter-communal violence. The involvement of the paramilitaries made them less likely to attack the process or agreement that the process produced.
Equally important, it gave them an interest in leading dissidents who wanted to challenge the deal. Although dissident groups persisted on both the Republican and Loyalist sides, their influence was marginal. The agreement consists of two interconnected documents, both of which were agreed in Belfast on Good Friday, 10 April 1998: the participants in the agreement included two sovereign states (the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland) with armed and police forces involved in the unrest. .