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Andrews briefs U.N. on North peace deal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Describing the Good Friday Agreement as a "historic new beginning," Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews last week briefed the United Nations General Assembly on the details of the accord while warning that the agreement alone did not guarantee peace.

Andrews told delegates that the agreement was a complex document of careful checks and balances, "a parity of pain and gain."

He said that the institution-building outlined in the document would not be enough, however.

"The appalling atrocities of the summer, which saw the horrific burning to death of three young boys and the merciless massacre of 29 people in Omagh, underline the reality that the agreement on its own does not guarantee peace," Andrews said in delivering Ireland’s annual address to the world body.

"The peace process allowed us to challenge and resolve the fears and divisions generating the conflict. The agreement is a watershed, a harbinger of the new era that coincides with the millennium. It is a great, historic, rapprochement between nationalism and unionism," Andrews said in a speech that also lavished praise on the various brokers of the accord including George Mitchell.

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"I want in particular to record our very special gratitude to the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, for his personal commitment to the cause of peace in Ireland and for the exceptional solidarity with the peace process he has displayed at all times throughout his presidency."

Andrews also visited Washington, D.C., last week where he met with members of Congress and the Clinton administration.

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