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Clinton to stay away

February 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Susan Falvella-Garraty

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House will announce this week that President Clinton will not visit Ireland at the end of the Group of Eight economics summit in Birmingham, England, in two weeks.

“A visit before the referendum was not necessary with the momentum over there,” said a White House official.

Some Irish government officials have hinted that the Clinton administration might consider an alternative visit in June. British officials say they see this as this unlikely since it might be perceived as coming into conflict with elections to the new North assembly.

“There’s no ‘Plan B’ for another visit at this time,” said a Clinton administration spokesman.

Officials, meanwhile, recognize that the recent statement by the IRA was anything but a ringing endorsement for the Good Friday accord’s settlement conditions, but they were also heartened that it lacked a tougher hardline stance.

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“It could have been a lot worse,” said an administration official. “All in all, the parties have all acted as expected and we believe the referendum will be successful.”

Even without the president visiting Dublin or Belfast, Ireland is certain to be a subject of discussion between British Prime Minister Blair and Clinton when they meet at the G-8 Summit.

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