OBAMA DISAPPOINTED WITH NORTH TALKS FAILURE
03/14/14 15:06 EST

President Barack Obama has expressed disappointment at the failure of all-party talks in Northern Ireland to reach a resolution on flags, parades and issues of the past.

Speaking alongside Irish premier Enda Kenny in the Oval Office after their annual meeting to mark St Patricks Day, Mr Obama pushed the Norths political leaders to work together. He said and Mr Kenny shared an interest in seeing Northern Ireland finally bring an end to what so often has been a tragic history.

I was disappointed, the US government was disappointed that the all-party talks could not arrive at a final conclusion and agreement, but we are urging the parties to continue to work and negotiate, he said.

The president knew the good influence from Dublin would help encourage leaders to move out of the past and get the kind of history or the kind of future that Northern Ireland so richly deserves.

Mr Obama said that the banking crisis required Ireland to take some very tough decisions that the Taoiseach was willing to take and that Ireland had been left in a much stronger position as a result.

What we have now seen is an Ireland emerge from its assistance programme in a much stronger position on the global stage and the global markets, he said.

The president praised Ireland for having a strong voice at the European Council to send a clear message of support for Ukraines democracy and self-determination, and a strong message to Russia that it should not violate the integrity and sovereignty of its neighbor.

Speaking after the president, Mr Kenny told reporters that at this years annual St Patricks Day meeting in Washington they did not have to have a detailed discussion about Irelands economy.

The Taoiseach said he was able to report on the economic progress the country had made. The Irish delegation would be pushing for immigration reform at meetings in the US Congress today, he said.

Mr Kenny reported to the president the attitude of the European Council towards the situation in Ukraine during the meeting between the leaders, he said.

We hope that clarity of message and strength of feeling can prevent the very difficult circumstances arising there, he said.

The president spoke of the incredible bond between Ireland and the US and thanked the Irish people for the incredible hospitality they had shown him, his wife and daughters on their visits to Ireland.

Joking with reporters afterwards, Mr Obama said that US vice president Joe Biden would travel to Ireland to play golf fulfilling a long-standing invitation from the Taoiseach.

You know, Biden wants to come to Ireland. He lobbies me every week to go to Ireland. I guarantee you hell get there, hell get there, said the US president.

Mr Obama himself said he would love to return to Ireland.

Tell everybody in Moneygall I said hi, he said as reporters were ushered out of the Oval Office.

The two leaders, along with Mr Biden, afterwards travelled to the US Capitol to attend the annual St Patricks Day lunch hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner.


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