THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Belfast, Northern Ireland) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release December 13, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT PHOTO OPPORTUNITY WITH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR, FIRST MINISTER DAVID TRIMBLE, AND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER SEAMUS MALLON Stormont Parliament Buildings Belfast, Northern Ireland
11:26 A.M. (L)
Q Mr. President, do you have any reaction to the Supreme Court's decision?
THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I haven't had a chance to read all the opinions yet. I think that what I'd like to focus on now is what I can do, what the United States can do to be helpful to this ongoing peace process. I may want to make a statement later, but I'd really like to have a chance to read all the opinions first and then I'll probably --
Q Have you spoken to the Vice President today?
Q Mr. President, what would you say to your successor, whoever he may be, about continued involvement in the peace process here?
THE PRESIDENT: I think it's important for the United States to continue. I think it also has the side benefit of increasing confidence among American investors in Northern Ireland. I saw a story yesterday in the local press, indicating that some 600 million pounds in American investment had come here over the last five years. That's the sort of thing we need more of. So I hope the next President will be intimately involved and highly supportive of the efforts that the parties are making to carry out the Good Friday Accords and get on with it.
Q Mr. President, what progress do you think can be made today? Do you think the peace process can be improved upon?
THE PRESIDENT: I hope so. But I think it's important for me to listen to the leaders here and see what we can do first.
Q Would you like to return and have a role in the peace process?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I'd like to return, but I won't be President. And that's -- the next American administration that will have to take up that mantle.
Q Mr. President, will your last act -- will one of your last acts be to do something in relation to dissident Republican groups like the Real IRA, and do something in terms of stopping them from fundraising and organizing in the United States?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we've got this whole subject under review as part of our ongoing look at people who use violence for political or other means, not just here, but throughout the world. And I may have something more to say about that later, but not now.
Q Mr. President, the two men to your left and right, in many ways, hold the key to our future. What can be done, what can the Prime Minister do, to bring the two men together, to secure this?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't -- I think that we'd better get on with our talks. (Laughter.) I want to give a speech later, but I'd like to get on with the business here.
END 11:29 A.M. (L)