Bush pledges US support for the North

US president George Bush today promised America’s continuing support in the transformation of the North.

In a video message played to the investment conference, he said peace in the North was giving people new opportunity to prosper.

In his message he said: “Free market policies have been proven effective in economies across the world, and Northern Ireland has made it clear that you are open to foreign investment.”

Mr Bush continued: “Americans have recognised the expanding opportunities in Northern Ireland. More than 160 US investors now own businesses in your region, and last year, 130,000 Americans visited your beautiful land.”

He said the conference, involving business people from both the US and the North, could help strengthen economic ties and reaffirm the commitment to work together in the cause of peace.

“The United States will continue to support the people of Northern Ireland as you take charge of your future, and we share with you the firm belief that even greater opportunities for co-operation lie ahead,” said Mr Bush.

Sending his greetings to the gathering, he paid tribute to the leadership of First Minister the Rev Ian Paisley, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, the hard work of Economy Minister Nigel Dodds and his team in organising the event, and the support of the British and Irish governments.

Mr Bush sent his own team, including New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, to the conference and said of all present: “These leaders demonstrate the warm and lasting friendship between America and Northern Ireland.”

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