He said Northern Ireland has "come so far in the last 10 years, it's now time to take the next decisive step out of conflict".

The report says the total cost of its proposals could amount to $430m.

'Cover up'

But pro-British unionists said a blanket compensation scheme would put republican fighters who fought British rule in Northern Ireland on a par with civilian victims, police officers or British soldiers.

Peter Robinson, the head of the Democratic Unionist Party, said: "We will not give our support to any proposal which would blur the line between the terrorist and the innocent victim."

Catholic nationalists have accused London of trying to pay off victims instead of accounting for its role in the conflict.

Gerry Adams, the president of the nationalist Sinn Fein party, said: "There are many victims' organisations that fear that the Eames/Bradley proposals will ... allow the British state to continue its policy ... of cover up and concealment."

Dennis Bradley, one of the report's authors, said it was important to address the impact of the conflict on those affected.

"If we do not take action now, it will move to the victims not yet born, so the cycle may begin again," he said.

A power-sharing pact between Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists was forged in Northern Ireland 2007, cementing the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.