SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m delighted to welcome Shaun Woodward, the representative for the British Government known as the secretary for Northern Ireland, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the policy that the United States strongly supports of moving on the path toward devolution of authority.
I really personally commend the role that Shaun has played over the last many months in helping the parties reach the agreement which was announced a few weeks ago. I strongly condemn the bombing last night in Newry. It was another cowardly act of violence by those who would prefer to plant bombs than to argue for votes and to participate in the political process. The parties in Northern Ireland have similarly condemned that action in the strongest terms and I urge that everyone continue to work toward seeing the devolution of authority and a better future for Northern Ireland.
So again, Shaun, welcome.
SECRETARY WOODWARD: Thank you very much. Well, I’d like to thank you, Secretary Clinton, for everything that you personally have done to help with bringing us together in Northern Ireland to help us bring together this agreement at Hillsborough Castle which does provide, two weeks today, the opportunity for politicians in Northern Ireland to unanimously come together and actually vote to transfer powers from London to Stormont and complete the devolution project.
You have worked tirelessly right since the beginning of the peace process to help bring this about, and I know that for you personally, as well as for the 42 million Irish Americans here, this is a very important moment that comes towards us. Martin McGuinness recently said that this could yet turn out to be the most significant agreement of them all. Because, of course, this would be about completing the project – actually, completing the last piece of the jigsaw on the peace process – and giving the local politicians in Northern Ireland, for the first time, control over everything in people’s lives.
So, on behalf of the British government and the Prime Minister, thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Shaun. Thank you all very much.
SECRETARY WOODWARD: Thank you very much.
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