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Wednesday, May 23, 2001, updated at 14:07(GMT+8)
World  

Clinton Joins Former Northern Ireland Envoy

Former President Clinton joined his one-time Belfast envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell, at a fund-raiser Tuesday for a Northern Ireland charity.

The pulling power of Clinton and Mitchell both respected in Ireland because they brought U.S. influence to bear on Northern Ireland peacemaking helped fill St. Patrick's Hall at Dublin Castle with people willing to pay $11,000 per table.

The charity, the Northern Ireland Fund for Reconciliation, was launched in Belfast by Mitchell two years ago. It was designed to provide special educational opportunities for Catholic and Protestant youths from the province's more troubled areas.

Mitchell spent 22 months in Belfast overseeing multi-party negotiations on Northern Ireland's future that produced the Good Friday accord of 1998 leading to a joint Catholic-Protestant government. He currently heads an international commission on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The panel Tuesday unveiled recommendations on defusing the crisis.

Clinton referred to recent violence in the Middle East, saying "there are places in the world today where people are groaning under the agony of an incomplete peace process.

"This is what George (Mitchell) is confronting in the Middle East. You've got something good going here, you must let nothing stop it."

At the dinner, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern spoke of "the unprecedented commitment and contribution of President Clinton to Ireland," and announced the establishment of a William Jefferson Clinton Centre for American Studies "to promote greater understanding of America in this country."

The event was Clinton's only public appearance Tuesday, midway in a planned five-day swing through both parts of Ireland. He made three trips to the island during his presidency in 1995, 1998 and 2000.

On Monday he delivered a speech to Trinity College Dublin that reportedly earned him $110,000.







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Former President Clinton joined his one-time Belfast envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell, at a fund-raiser Tuesday for a Northern Ireland charity.

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