Clinton praised for support over Ulster: Reynolds and Adams hail US 'interest'

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The Independent Online
THE IRISH Prime Minister Albert Reynolds yesterday stressed the importance of President Bill Clinton's 'interest and concern' over Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the final engagement of his week-long visit to the US, Mr Reynolds said the Irish government placed enormous value on US understanding and support of the search for peace and reconciliation. He told a John F Kennedy Trust dinner in Hartford, Connecticut: 'This continued goodwill and assistance is today needed more than ever, as we move forward in seeking to create conditions of lasting peace and stability.'

In a statement released in Belfast, Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, also welcomed Mr Clinton's interest and his 'positive and encouraging' attitude to his St Patrick's Day address.

'The administration has clearly shown its willingness to take a fresh approach to this conflict and the means by which it can be ended.'

Mr Adams also accused the British government of blocking the path to peace. He said the process required flexibility and imagination, but the comments of John Major and other ministers suggested those qualities were lacking in government circles.

'Rather than seeking to remove the roadblocks on the road to peace, Mr Major and his colleagues appear determined to erect more.'

In his speech, Mr Reynolds reiterated his faith in the Downing Street peace declaration. 'In the three months since it was signed, the declaration has placed the achievement of lasting peace at the centre of political debate. It is vital this momentum should not be lost.

'We are determined to meet the demands of the people in both traditions in Ireland that the negotiating table should replace the use of coercion and force in seeking to resolve political differences.'

He also praised Senator Edward Kennedy for 'his unstinting and generous commitment on so many issues of importance to Ireland'.

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