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
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEpic YouTube video features boundary-pushing staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Application Development

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Applicatio...

SAP Business Analyst - Data Migration, £75,000, Manchester

£60000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP B...

SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star