Bush heaps praise on North peace process

Progress made in the North over the past ten years has been unimaginable, US president George Bush said today.

Mr Bush's visit fulfils a pledge he made to former first minister Ian Paisley and Mr McGuiness when he met them at the White House last December.

Speaking outside Stormont Castle where he met with Northern first minister Peter Robinson and the deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, he said the world was impressed by the progress of peace and reconciliation.

"This a good place for investment. Ultimately investment will help Northern Ireland reach its full potential.''

He said other countries around the world looked to the North and wondered if reconciliation was possible for them.

He added: "Northern Ireland is a success story. Obviously more work has to be done. Progress made to date would have been unimaginable ten years ago."

Following his talks with the first and deputy first ministers in Mr Robinson's private office, the three men joined Taoiseach Brian Cowen and British prime minister Gordon Brown for discussions on the Northern economy.

Talks were held at the Northern Cabinet table, where the political leaders were joined by finance minister Nigel Dodds and Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey.

More than 100 anti-war demonstrators protested outside the main gates of the Stormont estate as the talks took place.


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