Irish Republican News · February 29, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Clinton to mark Agreement anniversary

Former US president Bill Clinton has confirmed his attendance at celebrations in Belfast to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in April.

Mr Clinton will join talks chairman former senator George Mitchell and other negotiators who were key to reaching agreement in 1998 including senior figures from the political parties -- except the DUP, which remained outside the 1998 talks and is downplaying the anniversary.

Mr Clinton and Mr Mitchell will be joined by Gen John de Chastelain, head of the decommissioning body; Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, John Hume, Mark Durkan, Sir Reg Empey, David Andrews, Liz O’Donnell, Paul Murphy, Monica McWilliams, Lord John Alderdice, Dawn Purvis and David Adams.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, speaking in Belfast yesterday, said he was delighted to hear Mr Clinton would be in attendance.

“The agreement is 10 years old and there were very fine words and we are still trying to put them into practice.

“It may take time to fulfil the ideals that were expressed in the agreement.”

Meanwhile, US George Bush’s special envoy to the Six Counties is leading a business delegation to Belfast to help prepare for a special investment conference planned for next May.

Paula Dobriansky said she was pleased to lead what she called the “US government’s ongoing efforts to showcase the region”.

She added: “I am joined by Robert J Mossbacher jnr, president and chief executive of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and Barbara Matthews, treasury attache at the US mission to the EU.

“Collectively, we will be listening to local business leaders and learning more about the economic opportunities that exist in high value employment sectors, such as research and development and innovation.”

Ms Dobriansky, who is also US undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs, will meet a range of people from both public and private sectors in advance of the May conference, which will also mark the anniversary of devolution in Belfast.

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© 2008 Irish Republican News