Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 May 2015

Bill and Hillary Clinton to visit Northern Ireland

Hillary and Bill Clinton were vetted by Barack Obama's team
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

Bill and Hillary Clinton are to visit Northern Ireland on Friday, December 7, according to senior political sources in Dublin.

Mrs Clinton, who is the US Secretary of State, will be in Dublin for a meeting of the Organisation for European Security and Co-Operation, which is being held from December 6-7.

Ireland is currently president of the organisation. Senior political sources there say they have been told that she will arrive in Dublin on 5th. The plan is that she will attend the session on the 6th and travel North on the 7th, where she will meet her husband Bill, the former US President.

Last month the Belfast Telegraph revealed that she would visit Northern Ireland. The trip may be one of Mrs Clinton’s last foreign engagements as Secretary of State, the equivalent of America’s Foreign Minister.

Her term runs out on January 20 and she has stated publicly that she does not want a second term, though no replacement has so far been named. Since being appointed on November 21, 2008, she has set records as the most-travelled Secretary of State for her time in office.

If the trip runs to plan, it will be a nostalgic occasion for Mrs Clinton and her husband. The couple visited the province three times

while he held the Presidency between 1993 and 2001. Both took a close interest in the peace process and she was well-known to open doors for Northern Ireland politicians, especially women, in Washington.

In 1995 the two of them stood behind a bullet-proof screen to turn on the Christmas lights in Belfast just a year after the IRA ceasefire.

She has also visited the province without her husband.

In 1999 she was the keynote speaker to a women's conference, and in October 1997 she gave the Tip O’Neill Memorial lecture at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus. In October 2009 she addressed the Northern Ireland Assembly.

That trip also followed engagements in Dublin.

Senator George Mitchell, who chaired many of the peace talks here, has praised her role in the peace process.

“She was very much involved in encouraging the emergence of women in the political process in Northern Ireland, which was a significant factor in ultimately getting an agreement,” he told the Washington Post in 2008 when she was seeking the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination.

A Clinton visit to Belfast will be seen as a boost to US relations. If she does stand down as Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, who also has a strong interest in Ireland, is strongly tipped to succeed her.

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