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Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK


UK

Hillary Clinton to visit refugee camps

The US First Lady received an honorary degree in Galway

US First Lady Hillary Clinton is likely to visit refugee camps in the Balkans next week.

The news emerged while she was being conferred with an honorary degree at the National University of Northern Ireland in Galway for her services to peace.

Kosovo: Special Report
Her mission will be to clarify US "compassion and concern for the predominantly Muslim Kosovar Albanians who have been driven from their homes and seen their loved ones murdered".

But Mrs Clinton's reception in Galway was not all positive as a small group of peace protesters vented their anger at the US role in air attacks against Yugoslavia.

On the first day of a two-day visit to both sides of the Irish border to demonstrate continued US support for the peace process, Mrs Clinton became the first woman to receive the freedom of the city of Galway.

Children of the Troubles

Then in the afternoon she flew to Belfast and visited a playground for children hurt during the Troubles and met the female members of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Search for Peace
After surveying a series of drawings by youngsters, she said: "As you look at these pictures it is a far cry from some of the pictures I used to see coming from children from Northern Ireland.

"For the pictures were much darker and filled with all kinds of fearful imagery."

She said there was no better symbol of how well a community was doing than what it was doing for its children.

At the play area, in Musgrave Park, Mrs Clinton, accompanied by Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam, planted two trees on the site.

Reassurance on peace

Ms Mowlam told Mrs Clinton political progress was being achieved and she was confident of success in resolving the impasse in the peace process.

She said: "We are making progress, inch by inch, it is a tough time, a time to hold our nerves and keep going because no one in the talks doesn't want it to work."

Mrs Clinton was involved in the planning for the playground on her last visit to Belfast in September.

On this, on her fourth visit to the city, she also went to Stormont to meet the 14 women members of the new Northern Ireland assembly.

Mrs Clinton was greeted at Stormont by Northern Ireland's two most senior politicians, First Minister David Trimble, Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon and their wives.

Mrs Clinton is due to address a Belfast conference on promoting the role of women in society before flying on to London on Thursday. There she will address a conference about children.



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