30/11/2012

Hillary Clinton To Visit Belfast

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to visit Belfast before Christmas.

The White House has confirmed Mrs Clinton will arrive in Northern Ireland on 7 December to meet officials and discuss the peace process and investment opportunities.

The visit continues a long association between the Clintons and Northern Ireland. Mrs Clinton has already visited Northern Ireland three times in the 90s with her husband, former US President Bill Clinton.

While in Northern Ireland, she plans to discuss the trilateral US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership and economic opportunities for Northern Ireland.

She will also take part in an event hosted by The Ireland Funds - a fundraising network which supports programmes of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education, and community development throughout the island of Ireland.

The visit is part of a four-day journey in Europe which includes Dublin, the Czech Republic and Belgium.

Mrs Clinton will be in the Republic before she arrives in Northern Ireland. While there, she will attend a ministerial meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

She is expected to discuss areas of co-operation in promoting peace, human rights, and economic growth and will also deliver a speech on US support of human rights globally.

This trip could be one of her last foreign engagements: she has revealed she does not want a second term after her current term ends next month.

The Clintons visited Northern Ireland three times during her husband’s presidency, including in 1995 when they turned on the Christmas lights in Belfast a year after the first IRA ceasefire.

Mrs Clinton came to Northern Ireland in 1999 without her husband, when she gave a keynote address to a women's conference, as well as in October 1997 when she gave the Tip O'Neill Memorial lecture at the University of Ulster's Magee campus in Londonderry.

(IT/GK)

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