Bush meets Robinson and McGuinness

US President George W Bush today met the North’s political leaders in Washington.

US President George W Bush today met the North’s political leaders in Washington.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness held discussions with the outgoing president in the White House.

Mr Bush congratulated both men on the role they played in establishing power-sharing government

at Stormont.

Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness are in the US to meet business leaders and politicians and tomorrow will hold discussions with New York City Comptroller William Thompson and Chief Executive of the New York Stock Exchange Duncan Niederaruer.

Mr Robinson said: “We were delighted to meet with the president and wish him well for the future and also thank him for his support over the eight years of his term in the White House.”

The deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness said the meeting proved that the US remained ready to support the peace process.

“Our meeting today confirms once again that despite many competing demands we enjoy access at the highest level in the US,” said the Sinn Féin representative. “We look forward to a similarly close relationship with the incoming administration.”

The pair’s four-day visit to the US saw them court corporate America to try and sell Northern Ireland as a good investment prospect, despite the global downturn.

Speaking at the Fortune 500 dinner in Washington – hosted by the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, Paula Dobriansky earlier this week – the ministers said a wealth of excellent investment opportunities awaited US business in Northern Ireland.

The visit is a high profile follow-up to the Northern Ireland-US Investment conference which drew scores of US business leaders to Belfast in May.

Around 150 senior figures representing more than 90 companies attended to learn about investment opportunities.

Four New York city pension funds are already committed to invest a total of $150m (€118m) in the Emerald Infrastructure Development Fund in Northern Ireland.

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