Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted Northern Irish leaders Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness at the State Department on Monday, and praised their leadership in government.

“I have had the great honor of working with these gentlemen for a number of years and have been so impressed at the progress that they are making together.  And we look forward to a very close and continuing relationship, and I just can’t thank you both enough for the leadership and the great example that you are setting for the people who you represent but also far beyond,” Clinton said.

Robinson praised Clinton, who will wind up her role as secretary of state at the end of this year, for her support.

“She’s been a very good friend of Northern Ireland.  Martin and I are particularly glad to be here because there was an election between when we last met, her and I, and we’ve come back with a reinforced mandate,” he said, adding that things are relatively quiet in the North.

“So, it’s normal foreign politics and boring is good for Northern Ireland,” he said.

McGuinness spoke about the importance of U.S. investment in the North.

“The number of jobs that we have brought into the north from companies like the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile, HBO, Citigroup, Allstate – all of these have been providing much needed employment for our people, and that is something for which we are deeply grateful,” McGuinness said.

“So, (it’s) very important to come here and say how much we admire this woman as a leader and admire her as a true friend of peace and political progress in our part of the world.”