US president George Bush is to meet Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness at the White House on December 7 and congratulate them on taking “the historic path” towards a peaceful future in the North.
A White House spokesman confirmed the discussions will take place during a visit by the politicians to New York and Washington next month, adding that the US had actively support peace efforts in recent years.
First Minister Mr Paisley said: “The meeting represents another opportunity to promote our key goal of growing the local economy and focusing on the importance of developing mutually beneficial links between us.”
Mr McGuinness said: “Many US organisations and individuals played an important part in helping us to secure the historic agreement which has already transformed our political situation.
“We are now building on those relationships to ensure that we deliver the peaceful, fair and prosperous society to which all of our people are entitled.”
NORTHERN MPS ATTEND DAIL COMMITTEE
In a small step forward for all-Ireland political process, elected representatives from the Six Counties will take an active part in proceedings of the Dublin parliament for the first time tomorrow [Thursday].
Westminster MPs from the North will take up invititations to take part in a new committee of the Dail, set up to help implement the Good Friday Agreement.
While unionists have not yet accepted seats on the committee, nationalists have welcomed it as a further step in developing all-Ireland relations.
Representatives to the committee will include the SDLP’s south Belfast MP Alastair McDonnell, south Down MP Eddie McGrady, Sinn Fein’s Fermanagh/south Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew and Pat Doherty, MP for west Tyrone.
They can take part in debates but will not have a right to vote or to move motions and amendments.
Sinn Fein’s Dail Group leader Caoimhghin O Caolain said the Committee -- while less than the northern representation in the Dublin parliament his party had hoped for -- was “a very welcome and significant step forward”.
The meeting is expected to see the election of the committee’s chairman and deputy chairman.