G8 summit: President Obama to urge politicians to quicken pace of progress in peace process as Northern Ireland braces for protests

 

President Obama will tomorrow urge Northern Ireland politicians to quicken the pace of progress in the peace process, delivering the pointed message that he regards it as incomplete and requiring greater effort.

He will use his visit to Northern Ireland for the G8 summit to urge locals to devote more effort to charting a course for a shared future for unionists and nationalists.

Tomorrow morning he will address a large audience of young people in Belfast before travelling to Fermanagh for the G8. He is also to meet unionist First Minister Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein deputy First Minister.

He is expected to praise them and other political figures for their achievement in maintaining a cross-community administration. But he is also to urge them to consolidate gains by working harder on community relations.

President Obama's arrival in Belfast will take place following an almost eerie absence of disruptive protests against the G8. So far there has been no sign of protesters intent on causing trouble.

A march and rally in Belfast on Saturday, which was entirely peaceful, attracted only around 2,000 people who were monitored by a large fleet of armoured police vehicles.

Police say they believe many militant activists have been deterred by the fact that that some activists have chosen to go to Turkey rather than Northern Ireland. The authorities have made a deliberate point of emphasising how tight a security blanket has been put in place, with thousands of extra police drafted in.

One of many security signs in recent days has been the sight, and thunderous roar, of a fleet of eight enormous US military helicopters cruising in formation over Belfast and Fermanagh.

It will however come as a major surprise if no street protests occur during the two-day summit.

Barack Obama's speech, which has been closely coordinated with Downing Street, is seen as reinforcing David Cameron's arguments that more needs to be done to improve harmony and integration in Northern Ireland.

When the prime minister last week announced an economic package he made a call for the building of "a genuinely shared society."

Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness, who have often visited the US in recent years in an attempt to attract jobs and investment, will be keen to defend their record.

They will also be keen to make political use of the President's sentiments, arguing that more harmonious relations depend partly on economic improvement. They are well aware that President Obama is in a position to promote investment.

The US is already credited with playing a major role in the peace process, especially through the sustained interest of his predecessor Bill Clinton.

The American view is that although progress has been inspiring, the process requires to be consolidated, and this is an appropriate moment for all parties to rededicate themselves to healing past divisions and working towards a shared future.

In Washington an official spokesman has said that one of a number of ideas under consideration is the possible appointment of a special US envoy, saying the President will consult local politicians on this while in Belfast.

The official added that the US was looking at ways of supporting an investment conference to be held in October.

It is known that the US and other countries regard the peace process as one of the successes of conflict resolution during recent decades. At the same time disruptive marching confrontations, the flaring of street protests and the continuing existence of peacelines between Protestant and Catholic districts are viewed as constant reminders that division still run deep.

Local parties struggled for years to formulate an agreed strategy to address divisive issues. A document which was produced earlier this year was criticised as "low in ambition and weak in terms of detail."

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?