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Friday, August 13, 1999 Published at 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK


Special Report

Leaders' messages of sympathy to Omagh

Omagh is preparing to mark the first anniversary of the bombing

The leaders of three countries closely involved with the Northern Ireland peace process, have sent messages of sympathy to the people of Omagh to mark the first anniversary of the bombing.

Omagh
American President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Irish Premier Bertie Ahern all pledged their support in letters to Omagh District Council.

A number of events are planned in memory of the 29 people who died in last August's Real IRA bomb, which injured more than 300 people.

The US president, who visited the County Tyrone town following the atrocity, said the day of the gun and bomb in Northern Ireland was over forever and the Good Friday Agreement was a way to lasting peace.


[ image: President Clinton:
President Clinton: "Violence has no place in the future"
"Your courage and resilience since that tragedy are a moving tribute to those who perished a year ago, " he said. " Their lives and memory will never be forgotten.

"A new and better future dawned with the Good Friday accord and full implementation of the accord is still the foundation upon which a just and inclusive peace will be built.

"Let that be the legacy of Omagh, a renewed commitment on all sides that co-operation will replace conflict, and no community on this island will ever again suffer such a terrible loss."

Mr Blair paid tribute to all those who helped in the aftermath of last year's atrocity and the courage of those trying to rebuilding their lives.


[ image: Tony Blair:
Tony Blair: "Suffering will not be forgotten"
"The whole community in Northern Ireland and indeed, across the world, has felt moved to reach out to those affected by the bombing in Omagh," he said.

"The pain for many is as yet undiminished, but I assure them their suffering will not be forgotten."

He said he wished the community Omagh and beyond would have the strength and courage to continue with their "already remarkable efforts" to rebuild their lives.

Revulsion and rejection

Mr Blair's Irish counterpart, Bertie Ahern, said the people of Ireland had made their revulsion and rejection of violence abundantly clear.

Mr Ahern said: "We were all united by our feelings of sorrow and grief, and people everywhere on this island expressed our deepest and sincerest sympathy through words and prayers.

"Throughout this past year, people the length and breadth of Ireland and in Britain have continued to demonstrate, in many practical ways, their concern and support for all those still suffering."

He vowed that the British and Irish Governments would continue to work alongside the political parties, to bring about a situation where no other family experiences such grief and suffering.



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