N Ireland Secretary begins US visit
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has begun a four-day visit to the US.
She will meet key Irish-American figures including Congressmen Ritchie Neal and Peter King during her trip to Washington DC, New York and Boston.
Ms Villiers said she will encourage President Barack Obama's administration to maintain support for the Northern Ireland Executive and political parties over the coming months in finding resolutions to issues including parading, flags and dealing with the past.
"Successive US administrations, along with friends on Capitol Hill and, of course, the huge Irish-American community have all played a crucial role in driving forward the Northern Ireland peace process and supporting us on the path to a better future," she said.
"The assistance and goodwill of those I will be meeting this week is still vital as we face key challenges for Northern Ireland's future peace and prosperity.
"During my visit this week I will be seeking their continued support in helping to overcome community divisions and bring about economic renewal."