CNN World News

Bill Clinton

Irish eyes smile on Clinton

December 1, 1995
Web posted at: 11:15 a.m. EST

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNN) -- Warm crowds continued to receive U.S. President Bill Clinton in Ireland on Friday.

On the third day of Clinton's planned five-day trip to Europe, people lined the streets of Dublin waving American flags to welcome the U.S. president and crowded downtown for an afternoon rally. Thursday, in Northern Ireland, the president lit a Christmas tree before a cheering crowd in Belfast.

Clinton has been focusing his diplomatic efforts on promoting peace in Northern Ireland. During a press conference with Irish Prime Minister John Bruton, Clinton said, "The lesson of the past 15 months is (that) people like peace. ... They like the absence of violence. And they want to go forward, not backward."

The president brushed off suggestions that the peace talks might bog down. "The sun is shining and I hope it's a good omen for peace in Northern Ireland," he declared.

Clinton shaking hands

Earlier Friday, Clinton met with Bruton to discuss the Irish peace process and the establishment of a new international commission to study the issue of disarmament. Bruton called Clinton's historic visit to Northern Ireland "a huge boost" for peace between Protestants and Catholics.

Clinton and Bruton also discussed Bosnia, a topic that is very much on his mind as he tries to rally support for European participation in the NATO peacekeeping force.

The president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton were greeted on their arrival Friday in Dublin by Bruton, Irish President Mary Robinson and Foreign Minister Dick Spring.

After a brief meeting at the president's residence, Clinton planted an Irish oak tree at U.S. ambassador's residence. Tree planting in Ireland is a tradition that also was followed by U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. (281K AIFF sound or 281K WAV sound)

Later in the day President Clinton will deliver remarks to the Oireachas, Ireland's national parliament. Friday evening he is to attend a dinner in his honor at Dublin Castle. Also on the president's itinerary is a stop at Cassidy's pub in Dublin for a pint.

Clinton is to depart Dublin Saturday for Bad Krueznach, Germany, to meet with U.S. troops preparing for deployment to Bosnia. He is then scheduled to travel to Madrid, Spain, where he will attend a private dinner with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

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