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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY'S STATEMENT ON NORTHERN IRELAND AGREEMENT

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Success of Northern Ireland Talks
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 23, 2014

The United States warmly welcomes that announcement today of an agreement among Northern Ireland's political parties, facilitated by the U.K. and Irish governments.

This is statesmanship, pure and simple, and leadership by all parties to break a political impasse and avoid a fiscal crisis by resolving complex budgetary and welfare issues. The agreement reforms institutional arrangements, which will improve governance in Northern Ireland, and advances Northern Ireland’s peace process by establishing new institutions to deal with the often divisive legacy of the past – including a Historical Investigations Unit, an Independent Commission for Information Retrieval, an Implementation and Reconciliation Group, and an Oral History Archive. The agreement on legacy issues is based largely on negotiations led last year by former Special Envoy for Northern Ireland Richard Haass.

I commend the parties for working together through some very contentious issues – and finding solutions that will promote a more peaceful and hopeful future for the people of Northern Ireland. The agreement will now go through party structures for endorsement.

The U.K. Government also played a critical role in the talks’ success by agreeing to provide financial support, including new funding to implement the arrangements for dealing with legacy issues and to promote shared and integrated education.

I applaud the parties and the two governments for securing this agreement and pledge America’s full political support for the new arrangements. I'm also particularly grateful to my Personal Representative, Senator Gary Hart, and his Deputy Greg Burton, whose deep engagement helped ensure the success of the talks. I know Senator Hart looks forward to continuing his efforts next year in support of a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland, and I am very lucky to have Gary devoting his time to this effort.