Next week, Northern Ireland will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of conflict. Bill and Hillary Clinton will attend, while President Biden will return to the United States after a quick visit to Belfast.
Several government officials reflected on the efforts and good fortune that have preserved the peace and credited President Clinton and the United States for playing a crucial role. Clinton used the talents he had learned in U.S. politics, such as glad-handing, cajoling, and gamesmanship, to bring the accord together.
Clinton, who has been giving TV interviews in honor of the occasion, will be the featured speaker at a panel titled “the guarantors,” moderated by his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Two days before, Biden had finished his tour to Northern Ireland and Ireland, the country of his ancestors.
Two years of discussions culminated in signing the agreement between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on April 10, 1998, ending one of the world’s most intractable military conflicts. Weeks after the deal was struck, voters gave their stamp of approval, marking the end of the violent era known as “The Troubles.”
Former New York Republican Representative Peter King observed, “This would not have occurred without Bill Clinton [and] the United States.” Clinton was the impetus. He took action, unlike any other president before him. King said of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who was granted a visa for a two-day visit to the United States, “He took on his own State Department and the British government when he issued the visa to Gerry Adams.”
No one could make sense of the many peculiarities of the various Irish rulers. Bill Clinton saw the situation as more of a mosaic than a jumble.
The President tweeted on Monday that he was looking forward to “commemorating the milestone in Belfast, highlighting the U.S. commitment to maintaining peace and supporting development.” He said the event “finished decades of bloodshed and restored stability.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned President Joe Biden against using his position and influence to attempt to restore a power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland.
He emphasized the distinction between influencing and pressuring, saying, “Americans can have a genuine role, but it’s something that you need to do wisely.”