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. As part of the agreement, the British Parliament repealed the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which had founded Northern Ireland, divided Ireland and asserted territorial right to the whole of Ireland) and the people of the Republic of Ireland amended Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which asserted a territorial right to Northern Ireland. The agreement was reached between the British and Irish governments as well as eight northern Ireland political parties or groups. Three were representative of unionism: the Ulster Unionist Party, which had led unionism in Ulster since the early 20th century, and two small parties linked to loyalist paramilitaries, the Progressive Unionist Party (linked to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) and the Ulster Democratic Party (the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Two of them have been widely described as nationalists: the Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Féin, the Republican party affiliated with the Provisional Republican Army.   Apart from these rival traditions, there were two other assemblies, the Inter-Community Alliance Party and the Northern Ireland Women`s Coalition.
There was also the Labour coalition. U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell was sent by U.S. President Bill Clinton to chair the talks between parties and groups.  The British government is virtually out of the game and neither Parliament nor the British people have the legal right, as part of this agreement, to obstruct the achievement of Irish unity if it had the approval of the north and south people… Our nation is and will remain a nation of 32 circles. Antrim and Down are and will remain a part of Ireland, just like any southern county.
 The agreement contains a complex set of provisions on a number of areas, including: 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.