President Obama will make a major speech about the Northern Irish situation at the Waterfront conference center in Belfast on Monday. He will be in Ireland for the G8 summit in Enniskillen next week.
The news came on the heel of a major economic investment announcement by the British government in the North and the announcement of an economic conference to be chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron in October 2013.
The president will address 2,000 people, including many schoolchildren from both communities.
A White House spokesman stated that the president especially wanted to “engage with young people.” and make clear how strongly the United states continued to support the Irish peace process.
The spokesman said the president would “mark the great progress” but also talk about the tough work ahead.
He said the president would say that the U.S. “would do whatever we can” to move forward the process and that he would deal with the need for agreement on issues such as parades, flag protests, symbols, which continue to be controversial.
Obama will “underscore” the commitment of the U.S. to the Irish peace process said the spokesman. He will also meet Irish leader Enda Kenny who will attend the G8 summit as Ireland currently holds the presidency of Europe.
Asked if he would consider a new special envoy to help with the peace process the spokesman said that Obama would consult with Northern Ireland leaders on what the next steps should be .
There will be no announcement about who the next U.S. Ambassador to Ireland will be during the visit the spokesman said.
Meanwhile First Lady Michelle Obama wil be in the Irish Republic where she will visit Trinity College to look at material related to the Obama family roots. She will also attend a showing of “Riverdance” and will visit the Wicklow mountains.
Speaking of the economic package at a meeting in London with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Cameron stated “The package of measures we've agreed today: more support for business, for infrastructure, guarantees for start up loans, research and development investment plans of £20m, all of these will be crucial in gearing up Northern Ireland," he said.
Peter Robinson stated it showed that the policy of the Westminster government was in tune with the executive.
Martin McGuinness said the plans were a "vote of confidence" in the work being carried out at Stormont.
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