"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
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 Seamus Mallon.|
|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.|
|February 2000||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 commission.|
|November 1999||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.|
|July 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.|
|November 1995||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 September 1998.|
|November 1994||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 December 1.|
|January 1994||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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