Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Obama to speak before G8 summit

US president Barack Obama will make a speech in Belfast ahead of the G8 summit

US President Barack Obama will deliver a public address in Belfast ahead of the start of the G8 meeting of world leaders.

First Lady Michelle Obama will introduce the head of state on Monday at the Waterfront Hall conference centre overlooking the River Lagan.

The high-profile visit follows a peaceful anti-G8 rally by environmentalists, trade unionists and human rights campaigners in Belfast city centre on Saturday.

A White House spokesman said: "He will deliver remarks and engage with the people of Northern Ireland and highlight the hard work, dialogue and institutional development they have undertaken together to advance peace and prosperity."

The president will meet Prime Minister David Cameron before the economic summit at Lough Erne, Fermanagh, and hold bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday night.

Syria is expected to be high on the agenda of the world leaders, along with issues surrounding terrorism and tax havens. Mr Cameron has said there is credible evidence of "multiple attacks" using chemical weapons by Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime.

Peaceful demonstrations were held in Belfast on Saturday urging the president not to arm the Syrian rebels and calling for greater efforts to tackle world hunger and environmental disaster.

This will be Mr Obama's first visit to Northern Ireland - he visited the Republic in 2011 - and security will be tight.

Former US president Bill Clinton was lauded during visits to Northern Ireland for his contribution to the peace process which ended 30 years of violence.

The White House has said the two-day summit and related meetings will provide the president and his fellow world leaders with an opportunity to address pressing economic, political and security challenges around the globe and to promote the advancement of trade and greater transparency among G8 members and the developing world.

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