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Friday, November 12, 1999 Published at 05:35 GMT

UK: Northern Ireland

Peace will come - Ahern

Bertie Ahern: The prosperity of Ireland is at stake

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has told an American audience he believes there will be a successful outcome to the Northern Ireland peace process.

Speaking in New York at the start of a brief trip to the United States, as efforts to conclude the Belfast review of the Good Friday agreement remained balanced on a knife-edge, he declared: "There will never be a better opportunity to achieve a lasting accommodation.

"The coming days will tell, but I believe we can find a way to bring this to a successful conclusion."

Praise for Mitchell

Addressing the Irish Business Association of New York, Mr Ahern highlighted his government's appreciation of the contribution made to the peace process by US President Bill Clinton and former Senator George Mitchell, who helped broker the Good Friday accord and is currently chairing the review process.

The Irish premier said Mr Mitchell was working in a dedicated and determined way and doing an outstanding job in difficult circumstances.

He added: "The best hopes for the future of Northern Ireland depend on the successful implementation of the agreement.

"A stable environment will lead to enhanced co-operation and business development on the island of Ireland.

"We want to realise the benefits which will come from the full implementation of the agreement for the people of Ireland, north and south.

"The massive Yes vote for the Good Friday Agreement was a vote for prosperity and peace. I am committed to making sure that the wish of the Irish people is realised in a better Ireland based on peace and prosperity for all."

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