US President Barack Obama has said more work needs to be done to secure peace in Northern Ireland, 15 years after the signing of the Belfast Agreement.
In a statement from the White House, Mr Obama who will visit Fermanagh in June for the G8 summit, pledged to continue America’s support for the peace process.
“The people of Northern Ireland and their leaders have travelled a great distance over the past fifteen years. Step by step, they have traded bullets for ballots, destruction and division for dialogue and institutions, and pointed the way toward a shared future for all,” said the President.
“There is urgent work still to be done - and there will be more tests to come.
“There are still those few who prefer to look backward rather than forward - who prefer to inspire hate rather than hope.
“The many who have brought Northern Ireland this far must keep rejecting their call,” he said.
“From building cross-community trust to bringing opportunity to hard-to-reach communities in Belfast and beyond, every citizen and every political party needs to work together in service of true and lasting peace and prosperity.
“And at every step of the way, the United States will be there as a friend and partner.
“That is the message I will carry with me when I visit Northern Ireland and attend the G8 Summit in June.
“On behalf of the American people, I salute the people and leaders of Northern Ireland and the model they have given to others struggling toward peace and reconciliation around the world.
“I pledge our continued support for their efforts to build a strong society, a vibrant economy, and an enduring peace.”