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Hillary: I Was Instrumental To N Irish Peace

From the UK’s Telegraph:

Mrs. Clinton holds the historic teapot she received at a photo op during her husband’s visit to Belfast Northern Ireland.

Hillary Clinton: I was ‘instrumental’ in Northern Ireland peace process

By Toby Harnden in Washington
March 14, 2008

Hillary Clinton, accused last week by a Nobel Peace Prize winner of exaggerating her claims of having “helped” bring peace to Northern Ireland, has raised the stakes by stating she was “instrumental” in doing so.

The former First Lady laughed and dismissed criticisms she had inflated her foreign policy experience in Northern Ireland and Bosnia as “nitpicking” on Thursday.

When asked by National Public Radio whether she had been in the “centre of the room” during North Ireland peace talks, she said: “What I was was part of a team and that team included obviously the principal negotiators under the direct authority of my husband.

“I wasn’t sitting at the negotiating table but the role I played was instrumental. I guess it was in December when Ian Paisley [Democratic Unionist Party leader] and Martin McGuinness [Sinn Fein leader] came to the United States.

“I think they met with the leadership of Congress, with the President and with me and they thanked me publicly for the role I had played.”

Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with John Hume of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party in 1998, told The Daily Telegraph last week that Mrs Clinton’s claims were a “wee bit silly”.

This month, Terry McAuliffe, Mrs Clinton’s campaign chairman, told CNN: “We would not have peace today had it not for Hillary’s hard work in Northern Ireland.”

Both Unionist and Nationalist negotiators told this newspaper that while Mrs Clinton’s work with women’s groups was positive her overall role was peripheral and she played no part in the gruelling negotiations that took years…

Greg Craig, a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama who served in President Bill Clinton’s administration at the time of the talks, said the “inflated” claim called into question Mrs Clinton’s judgement.

“Did the Irish have anything to do with this?…I’m not aware she solved any of the many, many thorny problems that had to be resolved, whether it was disarmament or whatever.”

He cited accounts of the Northern Ireland talks by George Mitchell, who chaired them, and Madeleine Albright, then US Secretary of State, that hardly featured Mrs Clinton.

“If you look at the books that deal with the American side she doesn’t figure in any significant way, certainly not instrumental.

Mrs. Clinton doesn’t seem to be able to stop herself.

As we have previously documented, her contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process consists entirely of having attended a photo op at a “safe house” where Catholic and Protestant Irish women had been meeting for nearly ten years.

But don’t take our word for her lack of importance to the negotiations. Here is Mr. Clinton’s account of their history-changing visit to Belfast from his ghostwritten autobiography, My Life, p 618:

The next day I flew to Belfast as the first American President ever to visit Northern Ireland. It was the beginning of two of the best days of my presidency. On the road in from the airport, there were people waving American flags and thanking me for working for peace. When I got to Belfast, I made a stop on the Shankill Road, the center of Protestant Unionism, where ten people had been killed by an IRA bomb in 1993. The only thing most of the Protestants knew about me was the Adams visa. I wanted them to know I was working for a peace that was fair to them, too. As I bought some flowers, apples, and oranges from a local shop, I talked to people and shook a few hands.

In the morning I spoke to the employees and other attendees at Mackie International, a textile machine manufacturer that employed both Catholics and Protestants. After being introduced by two children who wanted peace, one Protestant, the other Catholic, I asked the audience to listen to the kids: “Only you can decide between division and unity, between hard lives and high hopes.” The IRA’s slogan was “Our day will come.” I urged the Irish to say to those who still clung to violence, “You are the past, your day is over.”

Afterward, I stopped on the Falls Road, the heart of Belfast’s Catholic community. I visited a bakery and began to shake hands with a quickly growing crowd of citizens. One of them was Gerry Adams. I told him that I was reading The Street, his book of short stories about the Falls, and that it gave me a better feel for what the Catholics had been through. It was our first public appearance together, and it signaled the importance of his commitment to the peace process. The enthusiastic crowd that quickly gathered was obviously pleased at the way things were going.

In the afternoon Hillary and I helicoptered to Derry, the most Catholic city in Northern Ireland and John Hume’s hometown. Twenty-five thousand cheering people filled the Guildhall Square and the streets leading to it. After Hume introduced me, I asked the crowd a simple question: “Are you going to be someone who defines yourself in terms of what you are against or what you are for? Will you be someone who defines yourself in terms of who you aren’t or who you are? The time has come for the peacemakers to triumph in Northern Ireland, and the United States will support them as they do.”

Hillary and I ended our day by returning to Belfast for the official lighting of the city’s Christmas tree just outside city hall, before a crowd of about fifty thousand people, which was fired up by the singing of Northern Ireland’s own Van Morrison: “Oh, my mama told me there’ll be days like this.” We both spoke; she talked about the thousands of letters we had received from schoolchildren expressing their hopes for peace, and I quoted from one written by a fourteen-year-old girl from County Armagh: “Both sides have been hurt. Both sides must forgive.” Then I ended my remarks by saying that for Jesus, whose birth we celebrated, “no words more important than these: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth.’ ”

After the tree lighting, we attended a reception, to which all the party leaders were invited. Even the Reverend Ian Paisley, the fiery leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, came. Though he wouldn’t shake hands with the Catholic leaders, he was only too happy to lecture me on the error of my ways. After a few minutes of his hectoring, I decided the Catholic leaders had gotten the better end of the deal.

Hillary and I left the reception for our night at the Europa Hotel. On that first trip to Ireland, even our choice of lodging carried great symbolism. The Europa had been bombed on more than one occasion during the Troubles; now it was safe for the President of the United States to stay there.

It was the end of a perfect day…

Note that Mr. Clinton did not even bother to mention Hillary’s meeting with the local women for tea.

And that is simply because it and she did nothing whatsoever to forward the peace negotiations.

Mrs. Clinton’s lies aren’t fooling anyone except those who want to be duped. (Such as the NPR audience.)

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, March 14th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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