By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair pulled out all the stops in a joint TV interview at the end of the G8 Summit at the weekend, stressing that acceptance of the Belfast Agreement would be a “win-win situation for everyone.”
The final communiquT from the summit, endorsed by leaders from Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, Britain and the U.S., pledged strong support for the deal.
Clinton said the he people of Northern Ireland “are going to have a very interesting, very rich, very good life if they vote to live together.”
“If they vote to stay apart, they are still going to be frustrated, distrustful, angry and a little bit left out,” he warned,
Everyone had “hope and fear inside” themselves, Clinton said. But he predicted that the “clearheadedness” of the people would prevail and they would “vote for the future”.
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“What you have in common as human beings is more important than what divides you,” Clinton said, adding, “I believe they will accept that.”
After all, he said, “why take the risk that this moment won’t present itself again for another generation?”
Blair said it would be “fundamentally wrong” to tell people that a no vote would simply lead to renegotiation.
“I will say to people – of course we are here and we will try to pick up the pieces as best we can,” he said. “But we would be in a situation where it wouldn’t be the status quo.
“The one thing I’ve learned in this whole process is that if it doesn’t go forward, it goes backward; it never stays in the same place.”
Trimble and SDLP leader John Hume are expected to make their first joint appearance of the campaign at a rock concert in Belfast by Downpatrick band Ash, with U2’s Bono also expected.