For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 14, 2002
President's Statement on Northern Ireland
Statement by the President on Northern Ireland
I support the difficult but necessary decision today by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to suspend the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly. I welcome the commitment of Prime Minister Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern to restore confidence between the parties and peoples of Northern Ireland, hold elections, and reinstate power-sharing as soon as is possible.
I join their condemnation of sectarianism and violence and echo their call for all parties to make unequivocal their commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means for pursuing their interests. There is simply no place for paramilitaries in a democratic society. I also applaud the two governments recognition of the central importance of policing and the need for continued policing reform.
I welcome the continued close cooperation of the British and Irish governments as they work toward the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The United States stands ready to assist their efforts. I appeal to everyone in Northern Ireland to recognize the great benefits that the Agreement has already secured. The Good Friday Agreement remains the best framework for a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.