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Northern Ireland Executive briefs White House chief on progress

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Executive ministers with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (centre) in February.

Executive ministers with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (centre) in February.

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Executive ministers with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (centre) in February.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill yesterday updated US President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff on the political progress in Northern Ireland since devolution was restored last month.

The First and Deputy First Minister met Mick Mulvaney at Stormont Castle.

After a joint meeting with the two women, he then met the other Executive ministers.

The Executive Office described it as a "useful engagement" for the Stormont ministers.

A spokeswoman said: "They updated him on recent developments and discussed the importance of our relationship with the US and commitment to explore further investment opportunities and trade links."

Mrs Foster last night told the Belfast Telegraph: "It was important to meet the representative of an administration which is supportive of Northern Ireland.

"It is always useful for us to have an input right at the top of the US government.

"That is something which should never be taken for granted.

"We must use that access to ensure that we deliver for the people of Northern Ireland to maximum effect."

Mr Mulvaney also met Finance Minister Conor Murphy, Health Minister Robin Swann, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, Education Minister Peter Weir and junior ministers Gordon Lyons and Declan Kearney.

US Consul General Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau and US Ambassador Woody Johnson attended the meeting.

Mrs Foster and Mrs O'Neill will head to the White House next month for St Patrick's Day celebrations.

After his engagement at Stormont, Mr Mulvaney flew to London where he is continuing his UK visit. He is expected to urge the Government to reverse its decision on Huawei.

The US administration is furious at the decision to involve the Chinese company in supplying 5G technology, over US concerns of a perceived security threat.

President Trump's acting chief of staff will also address the Oxford Union debating society during his two-day visit.

Belfast Telegraph