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Former US president Bill Clinton
speaks to BBC NI's reporter Maire Louise Connolly
 real 28k

Mr Clinton
delivers a speech to more than 1,000 people in County Fermanagh
 real 28k

Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
NI honours for Clinton
Bill Clinton with George Mitchell after he received his honorary degree
Bill Clinton with George Mitchell after he received his honorary degree
Former US president Bill Clinton has been in Belfast for his final round of engagements during his two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

Mr Clinton travelled to the city where he received an honorary degree from Queen's University for his commitment to the peace process.

He was conferred with the degree by the university's chancellor, former US senator George Mitchell.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Clinton said the Good Friday Agreement was a remarkable achievement.

He said: "It is a statement of the fact of interdependence.

"The recognition that all people who live here count. That everyone deserves a chance, that everyone deserves to be heard.

"That everyone will do better when we help each other."

Mr Clinton then left for a gala dinner at Queen's University.

Four protestors were arrested after breaking through a police cordon as he arrived.

While in Belfast, he also spoke to the Vital Voices conference which was set up by his wife, Hillary.

Meeting

Earlier on Thursday, he met people injured and bereaved in the Omagh and Enniskillen bombings, on the last day of his two-day visit to Northern Ireland.

He said he was very moved by the private meeting with the Omagh relatives.

"It was very good, it was good to see them again," he said.

"A few were there who were still in the hospital the last time I was here.

"I got to see quite a number of them - they were obviously glad that our country had put the group that set the bomb on the terrorists list."

The former president then travelled to Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, to unveil a plaque on the site of the 1987 Remembrance Day bomb.

Peace centre

On Wednesday, it was confirmed that a peace centre is to be built in honour of Mr Clinton in Enniskillen.

Eleven people died in the Enniskillen bomb
Eleven people died in the Enniskillen bomb

The William Jefferson Clinton International Peace Centre is to be based at the Higher Bridges project building on the site of the IRA bombing.

Eleven people were killed in Enniskillen and 29 people died in the Omagh bombing in August 1998.

The new centre will focus on peace-building in Ireland and overseas and will cement a long-term relationship between Mr Clinton and the province.

It is hoped the centre will also stimulate social and economic regeneration in Fermanagh.

The former United States president told the crowd in Enniskillen that Northern Ireland had undergone a remarkable transition.

After visiting the site of the IRA Remembrance Day explosion, he said: "I ask you to take pride in the long, hard road this wonderful country has travelled since the dark day that the bomb exploded in Enniskillen.


I want to thank the family members of victims of the bombing who came to see me today to remind me that the work of peace is not over

Bill Clinton

"I ask you to stiffen your resolve to work through difficulties and frustrations that remain, to keep going on the path of peace."

Mr Clinton, accompanied by daughter Chelsea, addressed cheering crowds after unveiling a stained glass window on the new peace centre.

He paid tribute to those who suffered in the carnage.

Mr Clinton met relatives of the 11 people killed and some of those injured in the Enniskillen bomb.

He also met Fermanagh district councillors, church representatives and members of the Fermanagh University Partnership Board.

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See also:

24 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Picture gallery: The Clinton visit
23 May 01 | Northern Ireland
NI honours for Clinton
11 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Clinton: His role in Northern Ireland
22 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Clinton honoured at gala dinner
23 May 01 | Northern Ireland
The Clinton visit: Itinerary
21 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Row over Clinton's Derry visit
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