SUPPORTING THE NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE PROCESS
"The great triumph of this day [the establishment of Northern
Ireland Assembly, Executive and North/South Council on December 2] is that the
people of Northern Ireland now have the authority and the power to work together
to build their own future.... And so I think the people of Northern Ireland,
and their friends in the Irish Republic who voted for the necessary changes
to implement the Good Friday Accord, and in Great Britain - they should know
that what they have done is given enormous support and heart to people who are
still struggling in very difficult circumstances everywhere in the world."
Interviews with Belfast Telegraph and BBC
December 2, 1999
Over the past 25 years, "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland have claimed
nearly 4,000 lives and denied an end to political violence and a settlement
of the Irish conflict. Working with the British and Irish governments, President
Clinton has employed significant U.S. political and economic resources in support
of peace. His own personal engagement, as well as the involvement of former
Senator George Mitchell, who facilitated the multi-party talks, played an instrumental
role in achieving the Good Friday Accord in April 1998 and overcoming hurdles
to its implementation. The Accord represents the best hope in a generation for
a just and lasting peace in Northern Ireland. Historic progress was made in
December 1999 with the formation of an inclusive government in Northern Ireland,
acceptance of the principle of consent with respect to any change in the territorial
status of Northern Ireland, the launching of new institutions for North/South
cooperation on the island and the first steps to address the decommissioning
of paramilitary weapons.
A RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
- Helped broker the Good Friday Accord, signed on April 10, 1998 at Stormont,
Northern Ireland. The Accord provides for an inclusive government in Northern
Ireland; constitutional amendments to enshrine the principle of consent with
respect to any change in the territorial status of Northern Ireland; new institutions
for North/South cooperation on the island of Ireland; safeguards in the areas
of human rights and equality of opportunity; decommissioning of paramilitary
weapons; normalization of security arrangements; reform of the police and
judicial systems; and prisoner releases. The signing of the Accord marked
the culmination of intense U.S. diplomacy beginning with President Clinton's
bold decision to grant Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams a visa in August 1994,
followed by cease-fire declarations by the IRA and Loyalists and the launching
of all-party talks chaired by former Senator George Mitchell in September
- Achieved concrete progress towards full implementation of the Good Friday
Accord on December 2, 1999 when Great Britain devolved power to the Northern
Ireland Assembly, the Northern Ireland Executive (government) was formed,
the Irish Constitution was amended with respect to Ireland's territorial claim
on Northern Ireland and the IRA appointed a representative to the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning, ending a year-long impasse on
this contentious issue.
- Increased investment in Northern Ireland. U.S. firms have invested $1.9
billion in Northern Ireland since 1994, with two-thirds of all first-time
investment in Northern Ireland made by American companies, according to 1998
- Contributed $326.7 million to the International Fund for Ireland for development
projects in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Republic of Ireland
that promote economic and social advance and encourage reconciliation.
- Stimulated formation in 1999 of a joint Northern Ireland/private sector
commitment of $800,000 to create a micro-finance company that gives individual
entrepreneurs, especially in disadvantaged areas, unprecedented access to
TIMELINE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT
|Dec. 12-14, 2000
||President Clinton makes third visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland as
President, travelling to Dublin, Dundalk, Belfast and England. Talks with
British and Irish governments and pro-Agreement political parties result
in renewed momentum toward bridging differences on decommissioning paramilitary
weapons, security normalization and policing.
|September 13, 2000
||President Clinton holds first meeting ever with leaders of new Northern
Ireland Executive, First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister
|May 27, 2000
||President Clinton calls David Trimble to congratulate him on winning the
support of the Ulster Unionist Council to return to shared government (Executive
and Assembly suspended February 11 - May 27, 2000).
|May 6, 2000
||President Clinton speaks with Prime Ministers Ahern and Blair and party
leaders in support of measures agreed at Hillsborough to implement GFA,
put IRA arms beyond use and undertake a confidence building measure to confirm
that IRA arms remain secure.
|March 17, 2000
||President Clinton meets with Northern Ireland political party leaders
during St. Patrick's Day events at the White House.
||President Clinton speaks with Prime Minister Blair, Prime Minister Ahern
and party leaders on intensified efforts to implement GFA.
|January 12, 2000
||President Clinton meets with Gerry Adams at the White House to promote
understandings reached in the Mitchell review.
|December 20, 1999
||President Clinton meets with David Trimble at the White House to promote
understandings reached in the Mitchell review.
|December 2, 1999
||The British government devolves power to Northern Ireland Assembly. Ireland
amends its constitutional territorial claim to Northern Ireland. Northern
Ireland Executive meets. The IRA names a representative to the de Chastelain
||President Clinton urges parties to set up GFA political institutions and
work through de Chastelain commission to accomplish GFA decommissioning
goals. Mitchell review concludes successfully with Senator Mitchell's final
report to the British and Irish governments on November 18, 1999.
||President Clinton invites Senator George Mitchell to serve as facilitator
of the review of Good Friday Accord implementation.
|April 10, 1998
||President Clinton plays critical role in negotiations leading to signing
of the Good Friday Accord through active peace process diplomacy with key
leaders on both sides, in person at 1998 St. Patrick's Day events at the
White House and by telephone during crucial stages.
||President Clinton is the first U.S. President to visit Northern Ireland,
stopping in London, Belfast and Dublin and galvanizing popular support for
peace and leading to Senator Mitchell's direct involvement in the talks
process. Follow-up visit to Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland in
||President Clinton announces White House Initiative on Trade and Investment
in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties on November 1, 1994. Appoints
Senator Mitchell Special Adviser for Economic Initiatives in Ireland on
||President Clinton grants Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams a visa as part
of a strategy to bring about an IRA cease-fire.
President's Address at Belfast Christmas Tree Lighting, November 30, 1995.
President's Address to the Irish Dail (parliament), Dublin, December 1, 1995.
Agreement Reached in the Multi-Party Negotiations, Belfast, April 10, 1998.
President's Interviews with Irish, British and U.S. Media, December 2, 1999.
Irish Times web site (www.ireland.com).
Northern Ireland Office web site (www.nio.gov.uk).
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