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Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the United Nations on Tuesday listening to President Barack Obama speak about climate change.

Irish political leaders in New York for UN and Clinton Summit

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Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the United Nations on Tuesday listening to President Barack Obama speak about climate change.

Former President Bill Clinton will personally take part in a session on Northern Ireland at his annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) summit this week in New York.

Joining Clinton at the session on Wednesday, September 23 at the Sheraton Hotel will be Northern Irish First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Also taking part will be Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, Northern Secretary of State Shaun Woodward and Declan Kelly, the newly appointed U.S. economic envoy for Northern Ireland.

"I am honored that some of the key figures who exercised political leadership to secure devolved government in Northern Ireland will join me at the annual meeting," said Clinton, who will chair the hour-long Northern Irish session. "I am looking forward to a stimulating and frank discussion about the region." 

Panelists will discuss the factors that can make Northern Ireland even more appealing for foreign investors, how local businesses can reach their markets in the U.S., and how the talents of young people in the region can be utilized through entrepreneurship.

Discussions will also focus on how Northern Ireland's successes can be an inspiration to other post-conflict economies throughout the world.

Also taking part in the four-day CGI gathering is Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who arrived in New York on Monday. Adams, a member of the CGI and a regular attendee at the event, took part in sessions on Tuesday, and was also set to appear on Wednesday.

“The CGI is a unique event which succeeds in highlighting important global issues, but it is action orientated and seeks commitments from participants which can make a real difference in peoples lives,” Adams said.

“The peace process in Ireland is viewed by many as an example of how conflict can be successfully ended. There will be a lot of interest in the session involving the first and deputy first ministers.”

The United Nations General Assembly is also in session this week, and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen is in New York to take part in talks on climate change among the world’s leaders. Cowen arrived on Monday, and attended President Obama’s speech at the UN on Tuesday.

“Reaching a legally binding international agreement later this year is vital not only for our future prosperity but for the well-being and future of our planet,” Cowen said. “Ireland fully supports the EU’s global role and aims on climate change.”

Cowen is due to speak at a UN roundtable discussion called “Sustainable Enterprise and Decent Work.”

On Tuesday evening, after attending the UN, Cowen met with Irish American leaders at the American Irish Historical Society in New York who were unable to attend the government-sponsored Global Irish Forum in Dublin last week.

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