Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 12:49 UK

Obama looks at future of NI envoy

Barack Obama
Barack Obama said he would consult with the governments and NI party leaders

US presidential candidate Barack Obama is to ask the British and Irish governments and NI party leaders if a special US envoy is still necessary.

Mr Obama said "the crisis period has passed, and the people are now in charge of their own destiny".

He said he would discuss "whether a senior administration official, serving as point person for Northern Ireland, would be most effective".

Mr Obama, who has Irish ancestry, has issued a US-Irish relations statement.

The role of US envoy to Northern Ireland was a crucial one during the peace process, with Senator George Mitchell chairing the all-party talks in 1998 which led to the Good Friday Agreement.

Paula Dobriansky has been in the job since January 2007.

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