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Posts Tagged ‘Martin McGuinness’

Bill and Hillary Clinton have a special relationship with Ireland and those involved in the peace process. Today, the former president spoke at the funeral of former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness who passed away earlier this week.

‘Tears to my eyes’

Hillary Clinton reveals husband Bill’s moving speech at funeral of Martin McGuinness left her in tears

The former First Lady said Clinton’s touching tribute at the Derry mass should be watched by those who want to be inspired

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Tuesday
Mar 21
2017

Statement from President Clinton on the Passing of Martin McGuinness

Statement

Hillary and I were saddened to learn of the death of Martin McGuinness, who devoted his life to his beloved Northern Ireland. When he decided to fight for peace, Martin was calm, courageous, and direct. And when he gave his word, that was as good as gold. As Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator, his integrity and willingness to engage in principled compromise were invaluable in reaching the Good Friday Agreement. In the years that followed, he played an even more important role in ensuring that the peace would last—personally overseeing the arms decommissioning, joining the new government as the first Education Minister, and later serving as Deputy First Minister, and doing it all with a sense of humor and fairness that inspired both his friends and former foes. My lasting memory of him will be the pride he took in his efforts to improve disadvantaged schools in Unionist and Protestant communities. He believed in a shared future, and refused to live in the past, a lesson all of us who remain should learn and live by.  May he rest in peace.

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson (L) and Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness smile after speaking briefly to the media before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, March 19, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accompanied by Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, left, and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington, Friday, March 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C), Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson (L) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness face reporters before their meeting at the State Department in Washington March 16, 2010. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is greeted by Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, at Stormont Castle, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Oct. 12, 2009. The U.S. Secretary of State met with local political leaders to dicsuss the Irish peace process. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, right, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, right, speak to the media at Stormont Castle, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Oct. 12, 2009. The U.S. Secretary of State met with local political leaders to dicsuss the Irish peace process. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, centre, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, left, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speak to the media at Stormont Castle, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Oct. 12, 2009. The U.S. Secretary of State met with local political leaders to discuss the Irish peace process. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

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In June 2009, Hillary Clinton, rushing to a meeting at the White House with Richard Holbrooke, slipped on the wet, oily floor of the State Department garage and fractured her elbow.  Concerned, Holbrooke wanted to stay with her, but she told him to proceed to the White House meeting without her.  “That’s an order,”  she said.

She was brought to the hospital where surgery was performed.  Pins and a rod were inserted,  and she worked from home for a few days.  When she returned to the office we saw glimpses of her wearing what we called the “Sling of State.”  On June 29 she returned to the press room for the first time since the accident.

Her first official appearance and first official act upon her return was, on July 1, 2009, the swearing in of Daniel Rooney as Ambassador to Ireland.

Three-and-a-half years down the road, at the conclusion of her final trip as Secretary of State,  Hillary fell ill  – her last stops were Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Here she is with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny who was in New York for the parade today.

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Here she is  with First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness.

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Following  this trip, she was scheduled to visit Morocco and the Middle East, but her illness and resultant fall and concussion cancelled those plans.  She spent the rest of December 2012 recovering.   She returned to D.C. on January 7, 2013 to a huge welcome and was presented with the “Helment of State” to protect her delicate head.

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Her first official public event upon her return this time was to thank retiring Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney and his wife Patricia for their service.  She awarded them the flag that had flown over Embassy Dublin during his tenure and the Chief of Mission flag.  Here is  an excerpt of what she said.

So you and Patricia have done a fabulous job and I am so pleased to have this chance formally to present you two flags – the Chief of Mission flag, and the flag of the United States, as a small token of your very successful tenure in Ireland.

There you go. (Applause.) And Patricia, this one’s for you. You also served.

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The love affair between Bill and Hillary Clinton and Ireland did not begin with her service at the State Department and is certain not to end there.  They are both loved on the Emerald Isle.  Both of them are sure to return many times over.

We wish them and all of our readers a Happy and Blessed St. Patrick’s Day.  Our Irish eyes are smiling for all the good they have done.  We wish Ambassador and Mrs. Rooney and their considerable family the same.

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In addition to the award presented to her by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness today, Hillary Clinton received the inaugural Fr. Aengus Finucane Award for Services to Humanity,  International Business Times reports.   High time we got that library/museum in Seneca Falls off the drawing board!  Where is she going to put all of these awards?

Concern Worldwide Honors U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Humanitarian Leadership with Inaugural Award in Dublin

NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — International humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide presented U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today with its inaugural Fr. Aengus Finucane Award for Services to Humanity.

CONCERN WORLDWIDE US HILLARY CLINTON

Secretary Clinton was in Dublin December 6 and 7 as part of her last official visit to Ireland to participate in the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Secretary also met with Irish officials to discuss areas of cooperation in promoting peace, human rights, and economic growth, and delivered a major speech on U.S. achievements in support of human rights globally. After that speech at Dublin City University, Concern Worldwide CEO Tom Arnold presented the Secretary with the award.

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Edited to add this.

Hillary Clinton presented with Lifetime Achievement Award by The Worldwide Ireland Funds

By

JANE WALSH,
IrishCentral Staff Writer

The Worldwide Ireland Funds presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to salute her commitment to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland over her two decades as First Lady, US Senator and Secretary of State.

The specially commissioned Belleek China piece was presented at a luncheon hosted by The Worldwide Ireland Funds in front of 500 guests from all sides of the community in Northern Ireland as well as business, civic, community and cultural leaders.  Special guests who attended the event included The First Minister and Deputy First minister of Northern Ireland, along with members of the diplomatic, sporting and entertainment worlds.

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Remarks With First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Stormont Castle
Belfast, Northern Ireland
December 7, 2012

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We have, again, had the great pleasure of giving a warm Northern Ireland welcome to the Secretary of State. She, of course, has been a longtime friend of Northern Ireland. I can’t help but recall that the descendants of people from Northern Ireland provided so many presidents for the United States. And over recent times, America has given so much back to Northern Ireland.And of course, Secretary of State Clinton, you did it not just in terms of words but in deeds as well. You did it when you were First Lady. You did it when you were a U.S. Senator, and once more you have been our friend while Secretary of State. There has been barely an occasion when we have landed in the United States without going to meet you. You have always shown a tremendous interest in what is happening in Northern Ireland.

Martin and I – very often we sit down, somebody will mention some person who has claimed to have been instrumental in the peace process in Northern Ireland, and Martin and I will look at each other and ask, “Do you know that person?” (Laughter.) And we shake our heads. But you are one person who has consistently been there to help us, and not just in terms of helping us until we got an agreement. You recognized, as few others did, that the process of peace goes beyond getting the agreement itself, and you gave us the support on an ongoing basis, and that support came in the most tangible ways, that you provided us with Declan Kelly, who did a fantastic job in opening up doors for us in the United States for investment. And you, yourself, and the State Department, invited us to come along to speak to leading business people, world-leading figures in terms of the investment potential of Northern Ireland. And we really do appreciate everything that you have done.

And we recognize that you have done that in spite of the very heavy schedule that you have, that international schedule. And we were going dizzy as you told us where you’d been and where you were going in the next few days. It is a very demanding itinerary to have. And we just want to assure you that, from the point of view of the people of Northern Ireland, we appreciate all that you have done for us. America has been a very good friend. President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama all have been helpful to us and given us a lift when we need it. But you have been there all of that time. You have been a very good friend to Northern Ireland indeed.

Our journey as a society has not been completed. We have told you of some of the difficulties that we’re facing at the present time, the despicable attacks are going on on elected representatives, the threats that are out there, attacks on offices. But our journey is irreversible. We are determined to go on, and while from time to time we will have setbacks, there’s no such thing as a linear progression to a stable and peaceful society. There will be bumps along the ride. And we always know that we’ve had a friend that we could rely on in Hillary Rodham Clinton. So thank you, Hillary, for all that you have done. We really do appreciate it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Peter.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, I, too, am absolutely delighted to join with Peter in welcoming Secretary Clinton to Belfast. Secretary Clinton has been a true and wonderful friend to all of the people of Ireland, North and South, over many, many years. And this is an opportunity for us to express our deepest thanks and admiration for the work that she has done in supporting us through what has been described variously as one of the most successful peace processes in the world today.

Secretary Clinton was one of the founders of the Vital Voices Global Partnership organization. And that’s an organization that has encouraged people in conflicts all over the world to come together, and women have been at the coalface of those discussions, women from here, women from the Middle East, from Palestine and from Israel. But I think it has to be said very, very clearly that both Hillary and Bill Clinton have been absolutely vital voices for us in our process. And that’s something that has to be recognized over many, many years.

I have very fond memories of the economic investment conference sponsored by Hillary at the State Department a number of years ago, and supported by President Obama, which enabled Peter and I to say without fear of contradiction, at a time when people said there’s a world recession, you’ll get no jobs from America, but we can say that we brought more jobs in to the North of Ireland than at any other time in the history of the state. And that’s due to Hillary and the tremendous support that she gave us with the business community and the United States. And that will never be forgotten.

I want to join with Peter in expressing my total and absolute disgust and revulsion at the threats against Naomi Long, and also against other elected representatives in Belfast. We have – and it’s been the great strength of our association over the course of the last five years – time and time again stood against those who would try to plunge us back to the past. And we will have a further opportunity on Monday morning, when the assembly meets, to express collectively, all of the parties in the assembly, our total opposition to threats, intimidation, and violence. And it’s very important that we do so in a very forthright fashion, because we do know that there are people on the extremes of loyalism, and there are people on the extremes of republicanism who wish to plunge us back to the past. We are going to resist that with every fiber of our being.

The last thing I want to say is the media are treating this visit by Secretary Clinton as a farewell tour. Well, when we say goodbye to the Clintons, we also say, “We’ll see you again soon.” (Laughter.) And we will see them again soon, because there are no truer friends to this island, or our peace process, or the economic prosperity that many people enjoy as a result of the new jobs that have been provided, provided by the support given by both Bill and Hillary Clinton. So we wish you all the very best in the future. And again, our deepest thanks and appreciation for your support.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well, I’m very pleased to be back. And I want to thank both Peter and Martin for those very kind words, but more than that, for your leadership and the great work that you are doing together on behalf of Northern Ireland. It is fair to say this is a place that keeps drawing me back, and I’m sure will for as far as I can see into the future. I’m especially reminded of the first time I came to Belfast 17 years ago this month, when Bill and I came because of the glimmerings that there might be some path forward toward peace. And it was the first time an American president ever set foot in Northern Ireland. Peter is absolutely right that we had people who left, depart, and went to the United States and actually became president or were the descendants of those who had left, but this was the first time an American president came.

It was a little over a year after the first ceasefire, Martin, and we were invited to turn on Belfast’s Christmas lights. And I remember that as though it were yesterday instead of 17 years ago, and all that it meant to us to be standing there looking out at the vast throngs of people who had come with great expectations. So many fathers with their children on their shoulders as I looked out on that scene, and there was a little girl named Catherine who had lost her father in the Troubles, and she said her Christmas wish was that peace and love would last forever. That’s a particularly good Christmas wish, but it’s always a good wish here, not just in this season but all through the year, because the people of Northern Ireland know all too well that the alternative is not one that anyone can even imagine going back to.

But peace does take sacrifice and compromise and vigilance day after day. And we’ve seen that again this week that the work is not complete, because we have seen violence break out again. And I join with both Peter and Martin and all the leaders and citizens who have condemned the recent attacks here in Belfast and around the whole area. Because look, there will always be disagreements in democratic societies. We’re experts at that in the United States. We have a lot of very serious, difficult disagreements that divide us. But violence is never an acceptable response to those disagreements, and I strongly endorse what Peter and Martin have said, that all parties need to confront the remaining challenges of sectarian division peacefully and together. I’ll have more to say about that when I speak at a lunch hosted by the Ireland Funds.

The United States has been proud to be your partner for more than two decades now. We’ve worked to try to help build not only a future of peace but one of prosperity. In fact, the United States has supported the political process, providing more than $530 million in assistance through the International Fund for Ireland. And we have also tried to make it clear that we think what is important here is that people have a chance to see the benefits of peace, that they get an opportunity to have a better life for themselves and certainly for their children.

I think that there will be a lot of ways that we can work together to spur economic growth. Northern Ireland has a skilled workforce, world-class research institutions, an advanced telecommunications infrastructure that is essential for competing in today’s knowledge economy, and I am very keen on continuing not only in this position but in the future to be of whatever assistance I can to maintain our connection but also to work to produce results.

The U.S.-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is working to reinvigorate science and technology cooperation among Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States, and we just recently had a visit of our experts to help facilitate partnerships between our science and technology agencies, foster research networks, and try to build more economic connections between the North and the South.

So it’s always a pleasure to be with Peter and Martin and to really applaud their leadership, which has been extraordinary and absolutely essential, no more so than right now. And I think you’ve got so much to work toward that is positive and moving toward creating the kind of future that people have been working toward, and I’m very confident that you will continue to make progress together. Thank you.

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Thank you very much, indeed. Secretary, just before we allow some questions, Martin and I, when we had it confirmed that you would be visiting with us, we never know quite which element of the press we should believe, whether it’s a valedictory tour or whether it’s not, but we are not going to miss the opportunity because we felt that you have played such an important role in the process that we have been a part of in Northern Ireland that we would make an award to you. And if you’ll join Martin and I, we’ll make the presentation.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

(The award was presented.)

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, it’s beautiful.

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: (Inaudible) it’s a likeness of you. (Laughter.)

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: We’ve got the hair right.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Love the hair. Yes, the current hair. (Laughter.)

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Just for the press’s information, this was the work of Maurice Harron, who is from my old city and he’s one of the most renowned sculptors on the island of Ireland, and his work can be seen all over the island and indeed many other places including in the United States of America. When we asked him to do this, he came up with the idea within 24 hours, which was absolutely amazing. And I think it’s a fitting tribute to present this to you, Hillary, on the basis that he has called it just one word, “Agreement.” (Inaudible.)

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Can you bring your hand to the top of it there, please, sir? (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you, Martin. Give me his name, and I will write him a note.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: We will.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Great.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Okay, we just have time for two questions. The first question from Mark Devenport from BBC Northern Ireland.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, welcome to Stormont. Given the well-documented (inaudible) process and in particular the role of women in conflict resolution, how depressing do you find it that on the day you arrive there, a leading woman politician resident is there, in Parliament (inaudible) Naomi Long, is facing a death threat as part of the latest escalation of this dispute over the flying of the Union flag? Is there a danger that some people here, some politicians even, are taking the progress that you and your husband worked so hard to achieve for granted?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I know Naomi Long, and obviously, I am very distressed by the news that she’s been subjected to threats, that members of the Alliance Party have had their homes and offices attacked. That’s absolutely unacceptable, and both Peter and Martin have spoken out in unmistakable terms condemning this kind of intimidation, threatening behavior.

However, I think, as I have also said, the violence is a reminder that although much progress has been made, the hard work of reconciliation and fostering mutual understanding must continue. We had a chance to speak about that when we were meeting before coming out here. And as I said, there will always be disagreements in any democratic society. People have strong feelings. But you must not use violence as a means of expressing those strong feelings. The only path forward is a peaceful, democratic one that recognizes the right of others to express their opinions, but not to resort to violence. And there can be no place in the new Northern Ireland for any violence. Any of the remnants of the past need to be quickly, unequivocally condemned.

Democracy requires dialogue, compromise, and constant commitment by everyone to protecting the rights of everyone. And so the United States will continue to strongly support all those who stand on the side of peace and reconciliation and democracy and dialogue, and we will strongly support the work that Peter and Martin and their colleagues are doing. As you heard, there will be a chance to express their commitment at a session of the assembly next Monday.

And we also want to emphasize that the economic work that has to continue to give everyone a better economic future will be impeded if violence returns. I mean, 17 years ago, the Europa Hotel was boarded because of bombs and threats. I mean, it was – this is something that I have seen for myself, what a difference it can make. And so I really know that this is a small minority of people – it always is in every society – who try to stir up passions and emotions, or resort to taking actions like those uncovered, as Martin was telling me earlier today. Unacceptable and must be repudiated by everyone, no matter how strongly someone feels about their political or social beliefs.

MODERATOR: Indira Lakshmanan from Bloomberg.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi, Indira.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you, Madam Secretary. We wanted to ask about your meeting last night with UN Envoy Brahimi and Russian Minister Lavrov and find out from you if you got a sense from the meeting that Mr. Lavrov and the Russians have actually changed and compromised on anything on their stand on Syria. And were there any concrete coming together of your position or anything where there’s still a difference that you could describe to us?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, it was a very constructive session, and I greatly appreciated Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi reaching out to me, and Sergey Lavrov asking if he could meet with us while we were both in Dublin for the OSCE meetings. We reviewed the very dangerous developments inside Syria. Mr. Brahimi had his own additional information to contribute about what he’s hearing from sources inside Syria. And both Minister Lavrov and I committed to support a renewed push by Brahimi and his team to work with all the stakeholders in Syria to begin a political transition based on the outline that we agreed to in Geneva last year. And it was an important meeting, but just the beginning. The next step will be a meeting in the next few days where I will be sending senior officials, as will the Russians, to talk about how we can operationalize the path forward.

I don’t think anyone believes that there was some great breakthrough. No one should have any illusions about how hard this remains. But all of us with any influence on the process, with any influence on the regime or the opposition, needs to be engaged with Brahimi for a concerted, sincere push to see what is possible in the face of the advancing developments on the ground which are increasingly dangerous not only to Syrians, but to their neighbors.

I would also just underscore that one of the chief strengths of the Geneva document is it includes clear steps – I would refer you to it – toward a transition. And it has a section entitled Perspective For The Future which outlines the democratic principles and international human rights standards that the Syrian people have been demanding and that we in the international community expect.

So as this moves forward, I want everyone to understand that we’re going to be holding every party to the same standard. This is not just a one-sided dialogue. It has to be one that is inclusive, but everyone must understand what is expected of them. And let me also be absolutely clear the United States stands with the Syrian people in insisting that any transition process result in a unified, democratic Syria in which all citizens are represented – Sunni, Alawi, Christians, Kurds, Druze, men, women. Every Syrian must be included in this process for a new and better future. And a future of this kind cannot possibly include Assad.

So we go into these discussions with a clear sense of what we want to see accomplished, but a realistic understanding of how difficult it still is.

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Remarks With The Right Honorable Mr. Peter Robinson, M.L.A., First Minister of Northern Ireland and Mr. Martin McGuinness, M.P., M.L.A., Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 18, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m delighted to welcome two friends, two colleagues for many years. Both the first minister and the deputy first minister are extraordinarily welcome here. And we’re delighted to have this chance to catch up on everything that is happening in Northern Ireland. And I want to warmly welcome you here and, Martin, back to the State Department.

MINISTER ROBINSON: Well, we really appreciate the Secretary of State taking time. I think we all know just how busy her days have been with everything that’s happening around the globe. But we want to bring her some good news – Northern Ireland was completing the first four-year term of an assembly ever for our power-sharing administration. So in the past, assemblies have collapsed and been suspended, but we have managed to complete a whole term of the assembly. And we have made a number of very significant successes. We have created, even against the global economic downturn, more jobs over the last four years than at any time in the history of Northern Ireland. We have spent more money on infrastructure in the last four years of that assembly term than at any time since records began.

So there’s a good news story from Northern Ireland. We really do appreciate all of the assistance that the Secretary of State (inaudible) presidents past and present have been to Northern Ireland and it’s our opportunity to say thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Peter.

MINISTER MCGUINNESS: The Secretary of State was one of the best friends that the island of Ireland has ever seen. And all that has been achieved, outlined just now by Peter, would not have happened without the support of President Clinton and without the present Secretary of State. So we will always be indebted to her for the fact that we now have completed the (inaudible) four unbroken years of an executive which takes decisions on behalf of the entire community that represents real progress and has been an honor for me, both Peter and before him was Ian Paisley to bring about what has been an historic change. We absolutely believe that in the aftermath of the upcoming elections, due to happen on the 1st of May, that the institutions that we’re part of, which are power-sharing in nature and north-south, will go from strength to strength.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

 

 

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Remarks with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, and Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
October 19, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. We are so delighted to host this important investment and business conference for Northern Ireland. And I’m delighted to be, once again, able to meet with and catch up with both Peter and Martin. I call them that because we’ve known each other for a very long time. And it’s encouraging to see the progress that has occurred in the last several years under their leadership and stewardship, and I’m looking forward to continuing to support your efforts.

Do you want to say something, Peter?

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Well, first, again, to welcome the fact that the U.S. Administration has been so helpful to Northern Ireland and providing us with the facility here, and through Declan to be able to get the key decision-takers a number of very substantial U.S., indeed international, companies.

I don’t always say this, but I really do wish the press had been in there this morning. Obviously, this (inaudible), but I think you would have been very encouraged to hear the statements, the testimony given by the companies that are already in Northern Ireland. I think unanimously, one after the other, indicating that the key element of their decision to come to Northern Ireland and the key reason why they’ve expanded their businesses is the people of Northern Ireland themselves, the young, well-educated workforce, the loyalty that they give to the company that employs them, the low (inaudible) rate that results in keeping down the costs, trading costs down because they pick it up quickly.

And not because we have a low-cost environment; we have a cost-competitive environment in Northern Ireland. So we have a package that I think is very clearly what is attractive, and as we move out of a recession, people start to look to expand and extend their businesses, I believe we have the proper (inaudible) that could attract anyone from anywhere around the world to Northern Ireland.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Martin.

DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, I too want to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to Secretary of State Clinton and to her husband for a very long engagement with us on what is undoubtedly one of the most successful peace processes in the world today, a peace process that would not have succeeded were it not for the efforts of the Clintons. And we, the people of Ireland, will always be in their debt.

(Inaudible) we now have a situation where as we move forward with very stable institutions, we have a situation where the next big challenge for us is the economic challenge (inaudible), and to see the Clintons still involved in that. The visit to Derry just a couple of weeks ago by President Clinton, the organization of this wonderful event here at the State Department, the very magnificent turnout there are to see you, many multinational companies, all of them very engaged and all of them extolling the virtues, as Peter has rightly said, of our people – a dedicated people, a loyal people, people that do want to work. And people here are anxious to build stable and better futures for themselves and for their communities.

I remember over two years ago people said – they all said at the time of what was the beginning of the world recession, “There’s no point in going to the United States of America. How can you expect to get jobs into North America?” Yet Peter and I did come here with the support of Secretary of State Clinton, the support of her husband. We went to the west coast. Universal came to Belfast, HBO came to Belfast, employing hundreds of people. They’re still there at this moment in time. New York Stock Exchange have come to the north. And we’ve now seen two more important announcements today and we believe, absolutely confident to say, further, even bigger announcements in the time ahead.

So, as I say, we will always be indebted to the Clintons, and in particular today to Secretary of State Clinton for this massive lift-up that we’ve got in terms of putting before the U.S. business administration all of the propositions that we have to offer and the great hope that we will see further investment which will continue to see us move forward in a very stable way, (inaudible) in peace but also building on economic prosperity.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Great. Thank you. Thank you all very much.

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Remarks with Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 16, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Well, I am delighted to welcome the foreign minister here today. I know this comes a little early, but, Minister Martin, I wish you and the people of Ireland and all people who are connected to the wonderful Irish history and traditions a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I had the great honor of representing a very large Irish American citizenry in New York for eight years, and I know well the contributions that Ireland and Irish Americans have made to the United States. They’re so numerous, they’re impossible to quantify. And indeed, we now have a President and a Vice President who trace some of their family roots back to Ireland.

So I am grateful that the foreign minister could join us here today ahead of the holiday tomorrow to acknowledge both the history and friendship that we share, but also the working relationship that we have enjoyed on a number of important issues that are really significant to both the people of Ireland and to Americans.

I told the foreign minister how much we appreciate that strong partnership. And we discussed and had a very productive meeting about a range of issues. Our countries share a vital economic relationship that has created tens of thousands of jobs in Ireland and the United States. We need to coordinate closely to preserve those benefits in the face of global economic challenges.

Ireland also makes significant contributions to global security. Over 800 troops, 10 percent of the country’s armed forces, are currently deployed overseas on peacekeeping missions in Chad, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and other countries.

And on the subject of conflict prevention, I want to address the recent events in Northern Ireland. As many of you know, this is an issue of great personal concern and commitment to both me and to my husband. It was an honor to work on behalf of peace in Northern Ireland and to do so with the leadership of Senator George Mitchell as our negotiator. I had the privilege of visiting Northern Ireland numerous times to meet with activists from both communities. I spent a lot of time in particular with women, Catholic and Protestant, who were working to build bridges in their own communities, to find common ground as mothers and wives, and to create conditions for peace from the ground up.

Thanks to the brave efforts of government leaders and community activists like the women that I was privileged to know, the people of Northern Ireland, with the strong support of the Government of Ireland and the Government of Great Britain, reached a peace agreement, the Good Friday Agreement, that has delivered more than a decade of calm and progress.

Now, in recent days, a handful of rejectionists have tried to drag the people of Northern Ireland back into a full cycle of violence and retaliation. The recent attacks which killed two British soldiers and a police officer are an affront to the values of every community, every ethnicity, every religion, and every nation that seeks peace. I want to commend the entire leadership of Northern Ireland as well as the Irish and British governments for their constructive statements and their strong resolve in the face of this attack.

I hope that the recent arrests will bring an end to these tragic events and allow the people of Northern Ireland to continue to move forward not only with the important work of reconciliation, but with prosperity and progress that will redound to the benefit of all. The success of the peace process has consequences that go far beyond Northern Ireland. It provides proof to people everywhere that negotiations, dialogue, reconciliation, diplomacy can end conflicts that have tormented generations. The United States stand with the people of Northern Ireland. We will not let criminals destroy the gains that have been achieved through great courage and sacrifice.

Now, this issue is, of course, only a small facet of our relationship with Ireland. Whether it is supporting the Middle East peace process; strengthening democratic institutions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Western Balkans; promoting human rights; finding solutions to the global financial crisis and climate change; working together on development, we know Ireland is and will remain a strong and steady partner and leader. We share responsibilities, a common agenda, and a proud history.

So Minister Martin, I am grateful for your friendship and for the friendship that you represent on behalf of your country, and I look forward to working with you as we address these and other challenges.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: Thank you very much indeed, Secretary of State, and may I say that it’s a particular pleasure for me and indeed a privilege to be here with you and to have the opportunity to have our first bilateral meeting here in Washington.

I think you will agree that our meeting was substantive, it was productive, and very fruitful. And indeed, I, of course, congratulated Secretary of State Clinton on her recent appointment and, of course, said all of us in Ireland look forward to working with you in the months and indeed in the years ahead.

It is especially appropriate that the meeting should take place on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, when Ireland again has been honored so warmly here in Washington. And indeed there’s a special bond of friendship between Ireland and the United States, and again this is reflected, I think, in the very generous way in which St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated here today and tomorrow in Washington and indeed across the United States itself.

Secretary Clinton has been an extraordinary friend of Ireland and continues to be. For many years you’ve played a key role in our peace process, as you’ve just articulated, and you’ve been a frequent visitor to Ireland over the years. Your engagement at a political and civic level, particularly in terms of developing political awareness among women’s groups in Northern Ireland, was particularly important and earned you the greatest respect on the island of Ireland and indeed amongst our Irish American community here in the United States. And of course, we look forward very much indeed to welcoming you to Ireland for an official visit at an early opportunity.

In addition to that, we did discuss, of course, the situation in Northern Ireland, including the tragic events of last – of the past week, when three lives were needlessly and senselessly lost as a result of unacceptable and criminal attacks by dissidents. We – what has emerged from the past week, as I spoke and discussed with Secretary Clinton, has been a very strong unity of purpose from both the Irish and the British Government and indeed from all of the political parties on the island of Ireland. It has demonstrated a very significant unity of purpose in ensuring that we will never go back to the bad old days and that we’re very anxious to build on the political momentum and develop very strong political structures and community structures to ensure the continuation and the enhancement of the extraordinary achievements of the past ten years. And of course, America has been particularly important in relation to those achievements.

In terms of the ongoing bilateral relationship that we – Secretary Clinton has expressed interest in the new strategic framework that the Taoiseach announced last evening, which will in many ways be the framework for the development of our relationship with the United States in the decades ahead. And we want to work on quite a number of those issues into the future, not least in developing bilateral frameworks whereby young Irish people can come to America and indeed young Americans can come to Ireland to work and to study and to learn more about each other’s cultures and experiences. And in that context, we look forward to working bilaterally on issues such as development and other issues where we can add value to the world by working in partnership.

I wish to pay tribute to Secretary Clinton’s intensive engagement with the international community over the past few weeks. We look forward to the United States assuming a strong and progressive global leadership role in the years ahead. And already within the European Union community, there is strong anticipation, excited anticipation about the relationship that will develop across the Atlantic between the European Union and indeed the United States.

We’ve discussed, as the Secretary of State said, issues pertaining to the Middle East, to Afghanistan, to global economic downturn, and developments within the European Union itself. We welcome your very energetic engagement in the pursuit of a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East. And of course, we were particularly warm in our welcome of the appointment of Senator George Mitchell as Middle East envoy, a person who did an enormous amount of work for Ireland in developing the peace process back in Ireland. And anywhere we’ve gone in the Middle East, we have made it very clear a man of integrity, a man of fairness, and a man who listens has been appointed to a very sensitive post. And that speaks volumes in terms of your commitment to the resolution of that issue. And indeed, if we can be of any assistance in that regard, given our own experiences, we’re only too willing to provide such assistance.

We look forward to tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day. I was intrigued by the Secretary of State Clinton’s memories of the capacity of the Irish to party in a unique way – (laughter) – and she interrogated the Ambassador in terms of where the real parties were going to be tomorrow evening. (Laughter.) And I think, you know, we’re looking forward to it, and the Taoiseach – and the meeting between President Obama and the Taoiseach tomorrow as well, which of course is the highlight of the remarkable celebration of our national day in the United States.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Martin.

MR. WOOD: We’ll take a couple of questions. The first one is to Elise Labott of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. On Pakistan, I’d like to talk to you about your message to Pakistan over the weekend, which certainly seemed to help, at least, calm the situation. What sort of pressure did you apply to Pakistan? Did you warn that Congress may not be forthcoming with aid if the political turmoil continues? And given the political turmoil, can you say that the government is stable and are you concerned that it’s distracted from the very important task at hand at fighting the war on terrorism? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, the Pakistanis themselves resolved the difficulties that were manifest over the last several days. The work that was done by our Ambassador Anne Patterson and the Embassy staff, along with our Special Representative Richard Holbrooke and his staff, was, I think, very helpful in both working with the Pakistani leaders themselves and in keeping our government informed. I did speak with both President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. And I believe that the resolution that they have agreed upon is the first step of what has to be an ongoing reconciliation and compromising of political views that can stabilize civilian democracy and the rule of law, both of which are essential to the efforts that the Pakistanis themselves see as so critical; namely, preventing extremism and violence from stalking the Pakistani people and the country.

So we are going to continue our very close working relationship with the government and a number of Pakistani leaders in the days and weeks ahead. We have another trilateral meeting scheduled a few months off. So there will be an ongoing effort to make our services available and to help the Pakistanis fight against our common enemy.

QUESTION: Are you worried that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think they understand what’s at stake.

MODERATOR: Last question is from Denis Coghlan of the Irish Times.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Denis, how are you?

QUESTION: Very well. Thank you, Madame Secretary. The Administration has asked a number of European countries, including Ireland, to help with the resettlement of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. I wanted to ask you, first, how important is our help with that issue? And secondly, what would you say to European citizens who say that Guantanamo was an American creation that most Europeans didn’t approve of, and that the United States really has the responsibility to resolve the problems it created?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the President has made it clear that we will close Guantanamo. That is a position that was widely advocated by Europeans, both European governments and the EU, as well as European citizens from, I guess, every country. We believe that that is the right step for the United States to take, and we are going through our process now to evaluate the disposition with respect to each detainee.

But it is clear that we will need help because many of the detainees cannot safely, for themselves or others, be sent back to the countries from which they came. There are some countries that have made it very clear if the detainees are returned that they will face consequences; imprisonment, for example. So we need help to avoid the human rights problems that might arise with the release and resettlement of the detainees. And we are trying to do the best we can with the problem that we inherited, and that certainly is something that Europe, from one end to the other, called upon us to do. So we would hope to have the cooperation of European governments.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: First of all, we warmly welcomed the decision to close Guantanamo, and indeed Ireland was one of the first countries out calling for its closure. And it has been welcomed warmly across the European Union. And as I have said, and I’m on the record publicly as saying, that given the fact that we called for the closure of Guantanamo, we have – there’s a compelling logic to being responsive to the situation and to see what – where we can help in – within the context of the European Union as well, because we do believe that Europe is working on this at the moment, and I understand that the European Union is engaged with the Administration in terms of information and so on. And I know it will be the subject matter of discussions perhaps tomorrow as well between the President and the Taoiseach, so I’m not going to preempt anything the Taoiseach may say.

But we’re a friend of America and we will respond to the issues as they emerge. And we’ve made it clear that we want to be positive in our engagement on this issue with the Administration.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We appreciate that.

MR. WOOD: Thank you all very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: One – you want one more on each side?

MR. WOOD: Sure.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, okay.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how do you respond to criticism from Senators McCain and Graham and Brownback that Chris Hill is – does not have the experience necessary to become ambassador in Baghdad? He doesn’t have the experience in the Arab countries. And they also allege that he doesn’t have the negotiating skills necessary, and they point to the recent deadlock in the negotiations with North Korea as an example.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, obviously, I think both of those criticisms are unjustified and unfounded. Chris Hill is a distinguished, experienced diplomat who has served in some very difficult positions on behalf of our country. Another very distinguished, experienced diplomat, John Negroponte, was our ambassador to Iraq. He did not have Middle East or Arabic language skills when he was sent to Iraq. I believe the people you’ve just mentioned, my former colleagues, all voted for former Deputy Secretary Negroponte. So I think on the experience basis, he is not only very well-qualified in terms of running a large embassy, helping to deal with the myriad of issues that will arise as we conduct our withdrawal, but we’ll have around him, as any ambassador does, people who have particular skills and expertise.

With respect to the North Korean mission that we believe Ambassador Hill carried out with great persistence and success despite some difficult challenges, this is a hard set of challenges to meet. And it is our perspective that he made a lot of lemonade out of some pretty bad lemons, and he was able to get the North Koreans on record as agreeing to certain obligations. We now have to follow through on those obligations.

So our assessment, which we believe is rooted in the facts, may be different from those who, you know, are rightfully distressed with and extremely critical of North Korean actions on human rights, on their continuing effort to obtain nuclear weapons, on their belligerence and their provocative actions. But that is something that is not in any way reflective of the job that Chris Hill did in the Six-Party Talks, where we think he did a very good job.

MODERATOR: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: A question for the Secretary of State. You had strong words there for the dissidents in Northern Ireland. Can I just ask —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Not dissidents, not – I’m all in favor of dissidents. I’m not in favor of criminals.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, your strong words, how – I just want to ask how you felt personally last week when you saw the events unfolding. And just secondly on that, you’ve been asked to make an official visit at the earliest opportunity.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: When do you think that will be and will President Obama be coming with you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, I told the minister that unfortunately, my colleagues in the State Department know my great affection for Ireland and they’re somewhat skeptical that it’s a work job for me to go. So I’m working that through. I will get there at my earliest opportunity.

I think like all people who value peace and who know what it’s like to feel secure sending your, you know, son to the store or waiting for your husband to come home from work, those days were thankfully behind us. And so when these criminal elements, these rejectionists, determined to kill and try to set the communities against one another in Northern Ireland again, to relive the troubles and the bad days that everyone worked so hard to resolve, it was distressing.

But I was immediately heartened by the response across Northern Ireland, indeed, the island of Ireland with people speaking out against the murders and the violence and the provocation that these actions represented. I particularly appreciated the very strong statements of Northern Ireland’s leaders from both communities. So I believe this did, as the minister said, fortunately foil the efforts of the criminal elements to try to provoke violence again. In fact, it did show a unity of purpose, a commitment to a positive future.

Now that doesn’t mean all of the problems are over and all of the difficulties that people live with day-to-day – the minister and I talked about some of the economic issues that we wanted to help address in Northern Ireland. But it did, in a resounding way, demonstrate a commitment to peace that touched my heart and was incredibly moving to me.

Thank you all.

FOREIGN MINISTER MARTIN: Thank you.

# # #

Ya gotta love her, trying to find out where the good parties are. Come to my house, Hillary!
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Remarks With Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 17, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m delighted to welcome Gerry Adams to the State Department. I was delighted also to meet with him, I think, every year as a senator from New York. And I’m looking forward to meeting with him and other officials of Northern Ireland and the British Government today as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and we talk about how we’re going to continue to support the devolution of power and authority and the peace and prosperity of the island of Ireland.
Thank you all.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks With Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward Before Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 17, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. I am pleased to welcome the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland here for our meeting on this St. Patrick’s Day where we are deeply connected between not only Ireland and – the island of Ireland and the United States, but of course the United Kingdom and its very progressive and positive role in moving Northern Ireland along the path toward lasting peace and prosperity.
SECRETARY WOODWARD: Well, I’d like to thank the Secretary of State for being kind enough to see me and my colleagues from Northern Ireland today on St. Patrick’s Day, which of course, is a really important day for us all to celebrate.
It’s been a testing time in Northern Ireland in the last week. But the extraordinary thing is how not only the government in Britain and Ireland have come behind the political parties in such an easy way, but how the political parties in Northern Ireland have responded and united (inaudible) this.
And I’d just like to thank the American Government for everything you’ve done, the investment and the political support, because we really do have the most great opportunities in Northern Ireland, and we couldn’t have got there without the help of America. And it’s a great chance now for us to see real prosperity for the people there and lasting peace.
So thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks With Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 17, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. Well, I am very pleased to be here this afternoon with two men who have really proven what leadership means and demonstrated clearly courage and commitment: First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
I want to begin by saying how pleased I am personally to welcome them here. I have known Peter and Martin for a number of years and have seen them take responsibility for the future of the people of Northern Ireland in a way that has inspired confidence and created a real opportunity for people not only in the United States, but around the world to look to Northern Ireland and to see the progress there. Of course, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and they are here on this occasion, but they are no strangers to either Washington or the State Department. And I know how important our relationship is to continue to support those who work for peace.
In addition to the discussion that I just concluded with the first minister and the deputy first minister, I have had excellent conversations with others as well who you have seen starting yesterday and continuing through today.
Northern Ireland has made such remarkable progress since the signing of the Good Friday Accord. We’ve had more than a decade of peace and progress and prosperity for many. Recent acts of violence cannot be allowed to undermine that progress and the progress that is yet to come as these two leaders and those who work with them continue to move into the future. The violence that has occurred with the killing of the two young soldiers and the police officer are an affront to the values of every community, every person who believes in the power of peace and reconciliation.
The two men standing on either side of me led Northern Ireland through the last days in a commendable manner. Along with the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom, they have confronted these acts of violence with boldness and statesmanship. And they have responded to actions intended to sow fear and division with unity and courage.
So we are here after ten years of peace, and we’re committed to looking forward to a future where we, the United States, working with them, can create a better life so that every child growing up in Northern Ireland has a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.
The State Department and the Obama Administration will be actively engaged in assisting the leadership of Northern Ireland. And this is not a subject of passing interest, but of surpassing interest. During my time as First Lady, during my time as senator from New York, I have been privileged to see the people of Northern Ireland move in a direction that has given so much hope to so many, including those far beyond their own boundaries.
So I want to thank the first minister and the deputy first minister, and now let me turn to the first minister for any comments he wishes to make.
FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Thank you very much. At the very outset, I want to express my appreciation and the appreciation of all of the people of Northern Ireland to Secretary Clinton. Hillary has been a good friend of Northern Ireland, a great friend of the process in which we have been involved. We were delighted to hear in our meeting which has just concluded that that is going to be an ongoing interest. We’re looking for excuses to bring her to Northern Ireland, and we’re delighted to hear that the Obama Administration is looking to bring an envoy to continue to partner with us, and indeed to have a particular emphasis with someone looking after the issue of the economy.
The deputy first minister and I have had a difficult period of time. I think that anybody who has followed recent events will know that there was a single purpose on the part of those who carried out those dreadful acts. They intended to divide us. They intended to drag Northern Ireland back into conflict. Their hopes were that the work of the politicians in the assembly and in the executive would begin to fray and that the institutions would crumble and fall.
They have not succeeded, and they will not succeed. There is a massive determination, not just on the part of the deputy first minister and myself, but I was delighted to see it from every single political party. There was no party political bickering on the issue. Every politician stepped up to the line and made it clear their denunciation of the incidents and also their determination that they were not going back.
It is that determination not simply not to go back or to stand still, but to drive us forward, to complete the tasks that we have set our hand to, and to bring Northern Ireland to that place where it has a stable political and economic future, where prosperity is a daily diet of our people. It is that hope that drives us forward, and it is that hope that I believe we have the full support of the people of Northern Ireland in realizing.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much.
DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, if I could say that it’s an incredible good fortune for all of us on the island of Ireland and the north that Hillary Clinton has been appointed the new Secretary of State. She has for many, many years, alongside her husband, been a true friend of all of us, a true friend of the peace process, contributing tremendously to the transformation that has taken place over the course of the last number of years. And what has been really encouraging about this visit and the meeting that we’ve just come from is that it’s quite clear that she is surrounded by people who have a tremendous insight into our situation, going back many, many years. I find that tremendously encouraging, and we’re excited about our meeting with President Obama this morning and the things we heard from him and his reiteration of his commitment to help us within the process, continuing, I must say, a long line of important contributions from the United States of America.
And what we’ve heard just now in the course of our meeting with Secretary Clinton further encourages us that we will see the appointment of an envoy who will make their own particular contribution, also following in a long line of envoys who have been tremendously supportive for all of us.
And we talked about the economy because we believe that economic development is of critical importance, and our program for government identified the development of the economy as a key priority for all of us. And there has been a long tradition of American companies investing on the island of Ireland and in the north of Ireland, and our visit here and the West Coast, and we’ve been to Los Angeles, Peter’s been to Chicago, I’ve been to New York, and we’re now in Washington. Everywhere we went, it was quite clear that people were very tuned in to what had happened in our country and indeed at the time of those incidents were very shocked that it did happen.
But that shock quickly gave way to a bigger story, and the bigger story was the unity which Peter has just spoken about, not just between himself and myself, but between all of the parties recognizing that this represented a real challenge to our process by people who are dedicated to destroy the peace process, dedicated to the demolition of the political institutions, and absolutely dedicated to plunging our community. And we don’t speak about two communities. We represent – although we represent different parties, we represent one community in the north of Ireland, and we are not going to allow our community to be plunged into mayhem and destruction by people who have no support, no mandate whatsoever, and no right whatsoever to attack the peace that the people of Ireland as a whole and in the north voted for in the referendum in the aftermath of the Good Friday upheaval.
So I’m actually moving forward on all of this with tremendous confidence about the future, confidence in that we are united, that we are supported by the Irish Government and the British Government, and by a very strong Administration here in the United States of America led by President Obama and Hillary Clinton. So we will leave Washington incredibly buoyed up by the encouragement and support that we’ve received here, and I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to you, Hillary, and to President Obama and all those in all of the political parties on Capitol Hill who have stood by us through thick and thin.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, there are predictions of really catastrophic conditions in Darfur because of the president of Sudan’s expulsion of aid groups and apparent intention to shut them down completely. And I’m wondering what can the international community do about this. Will this in any way speed the appointment of another special envoy, a U.S. envoy to Sudan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have been deeply engaged in determining what we can do, because this is a horrendous situation that is going to cause untold misery and suffering for the people of Darfur, particularly those in the refugee camps. There will be a special envoy appointed for Sudan in the coming days. But the real question is what kind of pressure can be brought to bear on President Bashir and the government in Khartoum to understand that they will be held responsible for every single death that occurs in those camps, because by their expulsion of the aid workers, who came from all over the world to assist with the health and the sanitation and the security and the education of the refugees, they are putting those 1.4 million lives at risk.
And for those governments that support President Bashir’s decision to expel the aid workers, they have a responsibility to persuade the government in Sudan to change its decision to let the aid workers back in, or they must replace with money and personnel those who have been expelled, so that innocent lives are not lost and further undermined.
So we take this very seriously. We are looking for the most effective ways to convince and demonstrate to the Government of Sudan that they have now assumed an even greater sense of responsibility and infamy in the eyes of the world by turning their backs on these refugees whom they created in the first place. So we hope that either by the internal processes of the Sudanese Government or pressure brought to bear by the supporters of President Bashir and that government, the decision is reversed, or at the very least, the money and the personnel are replaced.
MODERATOR: Jim Dee from the Belfast Telegraph.
QUESTION: Thank you. This is a question for Madame Secretary and also the first and deputy first ministers.
Madame Secretary, as my colleague pointed out, there are many serious problems in the world. Northern Ireland has enjoyed top-level attention from the White House for many years now. When Barack Obama was running against John McCain, he indicated that he may revisit the appointing of an envoy. How long can the White House, in the highest levels of the U.S. Government, stay engaged in Northern Ireland? Will there be a time when they will not?
And to the first and deputy first ministers, you are here on an economic investment journey to try to find companies that will invest in Northern Ireland. The global economy right now is in a very serious state. How contingent on economic progress and stability is political stability in Northern Ireland?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as to your first question, we waited until we had the opportunity to consult with the leaders of Northern Ireland and of the Republic of Ireland about the best way to structure our relationship going forward. And it has been a unanimous agreement that having this high-level attention from the United States Government provides a real value to the ongoing peace process and to the economic aspects of, you know, anchoring peace in the soil where people can actually see the fruits of that effort.
So we will be appointing a special envoy. We’ll be appointing someone who will pay attention to the economic investment side of this. You know, there’s a great sense of affinity between the United States and the Irish, and it’s something that I take very personally as well as professionally as part of my responsibilities. It’s not only that we have many millions – about 44 million, which I think is an undercount – of Irish Americans, but it is the fact that we formed this deep relationship. And we are there to help; we’re not there to do anything other than support the decisions that these extraordinary leaders make.
But if we are needed, if we provide value, we will continue to support this process. It is gaining strength every day. As both Peter and Martin said, the reaction not just by the leaders, but the people in Northern Ireland to the murders last week demonstrated how firmly anchored peace is. But there are still some bumps along the road.
And before I turn to Peter to answer your second question, you know, the Northern Ireland economy is doing better than a lot of economies right now, so I think it is quite attractive for people who understand that we will work our way through this global economic crisis we’re in right now, and there will be opportunities for investments. And I think Peter and Martin are absolutely right to be out talking about the advantages of investing in Northern Ireland right now.
FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: Secretary Clinton is right. Northern Ireland does have a deep and special relationship with the United States as part of a secret deal. The deal is that as we have supplied you with 15 presidents that we will continue to do that. (Laughter.)
And we continue to get support from the leadership of the United States. It’s working well for both of us, I think. The economy of Northern Ireland is critical and is critical to the overall process in which we’re engaged. We want to be able to show people that having local control can make a difference. And it only makes a difference to them if they feel it themselves. And therefore, it has to be able to – raise everybody hopes, it has to get into every section of our community. And the economy is the one way that you can do that, you can make people feel better, you can make people feel that this is working.
Of course, we, relatively speaking, are weathering the economic storm better than many. And we have an unemployment rate to which I think most European countries and the United States would be happy with, at just about 5 percent. But we want to go up the food chain in terms of the type of jobs that we have in Northern Ireland. And we’re looking at high-end engineering, financial and businesses services, IT, creative industries. Those are the areas that we are wanting to grow in Northern Ireland. And we can provide businesses in the United States, even in these hard times, with a good reason to come to Northern Ireland, where you get the highest skills at the lowest cost.
So yeah, we do want to improve our economy. It’s important for the overall process. And we believe that the United States has something that it can give Northern Ireland, but Northern Ireland has something that it can give back.
DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, I think it is very important that people benefit from the fruits of the peace process. And reiterating what Peter said, our relationship with the United States of America is rock solid. We have connections going back here centuries, and the bonds between us are very strong. And I believe that in the future, we will continue to see investment from the United States of America and the island of Ireland and specifically also in the North. And Peter and I have been tremendously encouraged by the messages that we’ve had over the course of the last short while.
In terms of the whole issue of the connection between the economic situation and the issue of political stability, let me say this. The institutions are, in my opinion, stronger and more stable now in the aftermath of the three killings than they were before. And that should send a very powerful message to those who people who were responsible for those killings. And the message is that we are not going to buckle under this pressure, but we are going to continue to do our jobs, knowing that we have got the overwhelming support of our people, people who too want to benefit for their own sakes, for the sakes of their children, and those yet unborn.
So this is about providing a better future and a better history and this is about recognizing the damage that was done to our Island and to ourselves as individuals by the past that some of us have experienced. So what we have to do is – the key point is to give leadership. That’s what it’s all about.
I attended two very important conferences in a forest in Helsinki, alongside Jeffery Donaldson of the Democratic Unionist Party, alongside Cyril Ramaphosa from South Africa and Roelf Meyer. And there were many white boards and there were many black boards in attendance. And many words were written on the boards and many words were spoken. I wrote one word on the board when I addressed the Kurds, the Shia and the Sunnis, and that word was “leadership.” That’s what is required in the north of Ireland, that’s what’s required in the Middle East, that’s what’s required in Iraq, that’s what’s required in Afghanistan and in many other places throughout the world.
The benefit we had was that we had leaders who understood the need to forge an agreement, who didn’t want to be part of a process that saw the misery of the past inflected on future generations. And so I think – I would like to think that we have given strong leadership and that we have given a very powerful message – not just to our own people on the island of Ireland or in the North, but to the world – that the only way forward in situations where there is conflict and dispute is to sit down like sensible, reasonable human beings, forge agreements, and we have done that.
I mean, people have said to me, for example, what is different now in relation to what these people are doing and at a time whenever the IRA were involved in a conflict, which I supported, against the British Army? The difference is we have the Good Friday Agreement. The difference is we have all of the parties coming together, forming an inclusive government supported by the Irish Government, supported by the British Government and the U.S. Administration and the full width of international opinion, but more important than all of that, supported by the people, by ordinary housewives, workers, parents, people who have invested a tremendous amount and us as politicians, to give strong leadership and build a better future for them and for their children.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you all.

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