Remarks on the Northern Ireland Peace Process
I have just come from a meeting with the congressional leadership, where we discussed the importance of continuing America's leadership in the search for peace in Bosnia. I emphasized to them this afternoon, as I did to the American people last evening, that our mission will be clear, limited, and achievable and that the risks to our troops will be minimized. Bosnia is a case where our leadership can make the difference between peace and war. And America must choose peace.
Now I am departing for Europe, where British Prime Minister Major and Irish Prime Minister Bruton have just announced the launching of a promising new twin-track initiative to advance the peace process in Northern Ireland. I want to salute both these leaders for their vision, their courage, and for their leadership for peace.
The twin-track initiative will establish an international body to address the issue of arms decommissioning, while at the same time organizing preliminary political talks in which all parties, all parties, will be invited to participate. I am pleased that former Senator George Mitchell will chair the international body. The goal is to bring all the parties together for political talks on the future of Northern Ireland. This is an opportunity to begin a dialog in which all views are presented and all are heard.
In just a few days, I will become the first American President ever to visit Northern Ireland. Last year's cease-fire and the process of negotiations has sparked a remarkable transformation in that land. For the first time in 25 years, children can walk to school without fear. Bomb-shattered shopfronts have both been replaced by new businesses. People can visit their relatives and friends without the burdens of checkpoints or barricades. Crossing the border between north and south is as simple as going over a speed bump.
The twin-track initiative builds on those achievements. It brings the people of Northern Ireland one step closer to the day when the only barriers their children will face are the limits of their dreams.
Today's announcement also brings hope and strength to all those who struggle for peace around the world. It demonstrates that the will for peace is more powerful than bombs and bullets. And it reminds us once again that, with courage and resolve, bitter legacies of conflict can be overcome.
The United States is proud to support the peacemakers in Northern Ireland, in the Middle East, in Bosnia, and throughout the world. Those who stand up for peace will have the United States standing with them.
Thank you very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 7:26 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, prior to his departure for the United Kingdom. In his remarks, he referred to Prime Minister John Major of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister John Bruton of Ireland.
William J. Clinton, Remarks on the Northern Ireland Peace Process Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/220945