Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Clinton calls for end to violence

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets First Minister Peter Robinson at Stormont Castle in Belfast
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets First Minister Peter Robinson at Stormont Castle in Belfast
Hillary Clinton has visited Northern Ireland for the eighth time
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, meets Alliance party MP Naomi Long in Belfast as part of her four-day trip to Europe. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday December 7, 2012. See PA story ULSTER Clinton. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 7th December 2012 -PRESS RELEASE IMAGE - NO FEEUS Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pictured at Stormont Castle
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets with First Minister Peter Robinson at Stormont Castle
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in Belfast
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in Belfast
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in Belfast
Senator Hillary Clinton with DFP Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness on Capitol Hill, Washington DC
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak at Stormont and visit the new Titanic Centre later
Hillary and Bill Clinton were vetted by Barack Obama's team
Bill Clinton in healthier economic times
Former US president Bill Clinton
Former US president Bill Clinton joined hundreds of influential figures for a forum at Dublin Castle
Bill Clinton meeting fans at Magee College in Londonderry. September 2010
Crowds take photographs as Bill Clinton arrives at Magee College in Londonderry
Bill Clinton arrives at Magee College, Derry
Bill Clinton arrives at Magee College, Derry
Bill Clinton arrives at Magee College, Derry
Bill Clinton arrives at Magee College, Derry
Smiles for former US President Bill Clinton as he arrives at Magee College in Londonderry
Bill Clinton waves to the waiting crowds as he arrives at Magee College in Londonderry
Crowds take photographs as Bill Clinton arrives at Magee College in Londonderry
Bill Clinton shakes hands with members of the crowd at Magee College in Londonderry
Bill Clinton waves to the waiting crowds as he arrives at Magee College in Derry
Bill Clinton shakes hands with members of the crowd at Magee College in Londonderry
Bill Clinton with Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness and John Hume at Magee College in Londonderry
The former US President Bill Clinton with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson (centre) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (right), meet at the University of Ulster, Magee campus, in Londonderry
Former US President Bill Clinton greets John Hume former leader of the SDLP and his wife Pat in the Beech Hill Hotel in Derry
Former US President Bill Clinton meets John Hume former leader of the SDLP and his wife Pat in the Beech Hill Hotel in Derry
The round table business meeting organised by Invest NI with Former President Bill Clinton in Magee College, Londonderry
Former US President Bill Clinton sharing ajoke with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with US Economic Envoy Declan Kelly at Magee College in Londonderry
Former US President Bill Clinton meeting Alastair Hamilton Chief Executive of Invest NI during the round table Business meeting at Magee College, Londonderry
Former US President Bill Clinton stands with with Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, after speaking at the University of Ulster, Magee campus on September 29, 2010 in Derry, Northern Ireland
Former US President Bill Clinton speaks at the University of Ulster, Magee campus on September 29, 2010 in Londonderry
Former US President Bill Clinton is presented with a book on Irish immigration from Professor Deirdre Heenan, Acting Provost, after speaking at the University of Ulster, Magee campus in Derry
Former US President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attend daughter Chelsea Clinton and her fiance Marc Mezvinsky's pre-wedding party at the Beekman Arms Inn on July 30, 2010

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has urged protesting loyalists to end street violence in Northern Ireland amid heightening fears of further trouble at demonstrations against a decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

A death threat against the east Belfast MP Naomi Long marked a serious escalation in tensions after arson attacks on offices used by her non-sectarian Alliance Party.

Even though Unionist Party leaders, including the Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, called for a suspension of planned protests until the new year, security chiefs are gearing up for sporadic outbreaks of new violence, especially in the greater Belfast area.

Loyalists have targeted the Alliance Party after blaming them for backing the nationalist SDLP and Sinn Fein to push through a vote to limit the flying of the flag to designated days.

Mrs Clinton who met Mr Robinson and the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle before returning to America at the end of a brief European tour, said the threat on Ms Long's life was absolutely unacceptable.

Mrs Clinton said: "There will always be disagreement in democratic societies, but violence is never an acceptable response to those disagreements. All parties need to confront the remaining challenge of sectarian divisions, peacefully together."

With loyalists threatening another protest in Belfast on Saturday - expected to be the busiest shopping day so far this year - Mrs Clinton said: "People have strong feelings, but you must not use violence as a means of expressing those strong feelings.

"The only path forward is a peaceful democratic one. There can be no place in the new Northern Ireland for any violence. The remnants of the past need to be quickly, unequivocally condemned. Democracy requires dialogue, compromise and constant commitment by everyone to protect the rights of everyone."

Belfast City Hall is now one of many civic buildings across Northern Ireland, including Parliament Buildings, Stormont, where the flying of the flag is limited to designated dates, such as the Queen's Birthday.

Mr Robinson, who claimed the City Hall vote was divisive and provocative, revealed that his Democratic Unionist Party had submitted a motion in a bid to begin a process to extend the number of days the flag is hoisted at Stormont.

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