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  • Writer's pictureGreg O'Loughlin

25 Years Ago: President Bill Clinton Commits to "Taking Risks for Peace"

Twenty-five years ago President Bill Clinton committed in his State of the Union address, "to take risks for peace". He would make good on that promise

by appointing George Mitchell as a Special Envoy and granting Gerry Adams a visa against the wishes of the then British Prime Minister John Major.

He would go on to become the first president to meet with Gerry Adams, who was an active and involved participant in the Peace negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement.

Mairead Keane, the then Sinn Féin's Representative for North America attended the State of the Union address as a guest of Representative Peter King. She reported at the time that President Clinton assured his listeners, who included all the members of the Congress and Senate as well as judges of the Supreme Court that "America has to continue taking risks for peace, whether it be in the Middle East or Northern Ireland''.

Mairead thanked Representative King and said,

"As a senior member of the highly influential `International Relations Committee, Congressman King with other members of the Congress, together with President Clinton have played a very supportive role in the search for lasting peace in Ireland. The President's reference to taking risks for peace should be noted in London. Surely if the President can take those risks, John Major, the British Prime Minister, can even at this late stage do the same,'' Keane said.

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