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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 16:01 GMT
Stormont pair head to White House
Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley
Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley are going on a joint trip
US President George Bush is to host the DUP's Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness at the White House.

A White House spokesperson said the president was looking forward to receiving NI's first and deputy first ministers on 7 December.

Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness are also expected to meet leading US politicians in Washington during their first joint visit to the United States.

During their week-long visit, the pair will also travel to New York.

A White House spokesperson said: "Over the past several years, the United States has actively supported peace efforts in Northern Ireland, which culminated in the formation of a unified Northern Ireland government.

"This visit marks the first time that Dr Paisley and Martin McGuinness will visit the United States together since taking office.

"The president looks forward to congratulating the two leaders on overcoming years of violent conflict, and for taking the historic path toward a peaceful and prosperous future for all the people of Northern Ireland."

White House
The pair will visit the White House in December

Devolution was restored in Northern Ireland in May - two months after the DUP and Sinn Fein agreed to share power.

Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness welcomed the invitation from President Bush.

"It is a great honour to be invited to meet with President Bush and to represent the executive and the people of Northern Ireland in Washington DC," Mr Paisley said.

"The meeting represents another opportunity to promote our key goal of growing the local economy and focusing on the importance of developing mutually beneficial links between us."

Mr McGuinness said many organisations and individuals in the United States had played an important role in helping Northern Ireland achieve an historic agreement which had transformed the political situation.

"We are now building on those relationships to ensure that we deliver the peaceful, fair and prosperous society to which all of our people are entitled," he said.

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