The Vice President spoke with First Minister Robinson and Deputy First Minister McGuinness of Northern Ireland today to welcome the launch of an All-Party Group process to address sensitive issues such as parades and protests; flags, symbols and emblems; and dealing with the past. Underscoring the importance of the All-Party process, the Vice President expressed his deep concern at parade-related violence and attacks on police, and supported calls for calm and respect for rule of law.
The Vice President also spoke with the chair of the All-Party Group process, former U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Dr. Richard Haass, to pledge the full support of the United States and his personal support in this vital effort. The Vice President and the U.S. Government, along with the British and Irish governments, will stay in close touch with Dr. Haass as he assists the political parties of Northern Ireland in the crucial work of healing the divisions of the past and building a truly shared future.
As the President said in Belfast in June, the people and institutions of Northern Ireland should be commended for the tremendous progress since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. However, more work remains. Tackling sensitive issues are essential to creating a lasting peace and assuring the road to prosperity for all in Northern Ireland. It will require political courage, creativity, and compromise on the part of all Northern Ireland’s political parties. We welcome the launch of the All-Party process as a necessary step toward building a united community.