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Friday, October 31, 1997 Published at 14:39 GMT


Hillary Clinton in Belfast peace mission

Mrs Clinton welcomed the prospects of lasting peace

The US First Lady, Hillary Clinton, has returned to Northern Ireland two years after she and her husband made their first official visit.

It is hoped her trip will add impetus to the Northern Ireland peace process.

Mrs Clinton was greeted at Belfast airport by the same two children, one Protestant and the other Roman Catholic, who welcomed them two years ago.

Her first speech, delivered at at the University of Ulster, was in memory of the community worker Joyce McCartan, who died last year aged 66, and had lost 12 relatives during the years of bloodshed in Ulster.

[ image: The United States remains
The United States remains "totally committed" to peace
It was the first in a series of talks on the role of women involved in peace and reconciliation.

Mrs Clinton said that the peace process, was now even more hopeful than at the time of her last visit.

"When the people want peace, it is the obligation of political leaders to find the common ground where it can thrive.

"That requires compromise and reconciliation and involves postponing or even giving up one's cherished ideas in the belief that others will do the same," she said.

She added that President Clinton remained "totally committed" to the peace process.

Mrs Clinton plans to meet Tony Blair when she arrives in London on Friday evening as part of her bid to gain an on-the-ground assessment of current developments.


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