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Diplomacy in Action

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

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 16, 2010


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s a great pleasure to welcome the first minister and the deputy first minister from Northern Ireland. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with both of these leaders, and I am delighted that they are coming here to the United States having successfully concluded the devolution agreement known as the Hillsborough Agreement. And I look forward to discussing with them the way that – the ways that the United States will continue to support a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Northern Ireland.

FIRST MINISTER ROBINSON: I want to thank Secretary Clinton, who has been a consistent and faithful supporter of Northern Ireland. She has helped us in difficult days and she is assisting us towards a period of stability and prosperity. I think the decisions that she took to gift us Declan Kelly has been a great (inaudible) and a great help to Northern Ireland. He’s thrown himself into that work and the commitment that he has shown mirrors the commitment that Secretary Clinton has shown to the people of Northern Ireland.

We have come through difficult times. We have had hard negotiations. But I believe that the last piece of the jigsaw is in place. And we want to build upon that peace and stability and work towards getting our economy off the ground, focusing on the issues that matter to the ordinary people of Northern Ireland. And we appreciate all of the assistance that we have had in the United States, particularly when it comes to economic development.


DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MCGUINNESS: Well, I too would like to express my deep appreciation to Secretary Clinton for all of her support and to say that it’s absolutely wonderful to be in Washington in the course of this week, the week of the Patron Saint of Ireland being recognized and celebrated, and also on a day whenever Secretary Clinton herself is going to be honored by the American Ireland Fund Dinner later this evening, which Peter and I are very happy to attend, and to witness the accolades bestowed upon her which are absolutely well deserved.

And as Peter has said, all of this comes against the backdrop of what has been a momentous agreement that (inaudible) because what makes this agreement different from others is that this is our agreement. This is an agreement that we forged ourselves that has undoubtedly left us in the position now where the peace process has been strengthened, the political institutions have been strengthened, and our focus now is moving on with confidence to deal with big issues around the economy to ensure that people who have been disadvantaged in the past can reap the benefits of peace. And Secretary of State Clinton and President Obama have pledged themselves to assist us in the process of economic recovery, and for that we are eternally grateful.


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PRN: 2010/312

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