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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-314196 Bush / Ireland (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=3/17/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=BUSH / IRELAND (L)

NUMBER=2-314196

BYLINE=PAULA WOLFSON

DATELINE= WHITE HOUSE

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: President Bush is calling for a permanent end to political violence in Northern Ireland. V-O-A'S Paula Wolfson reports he spoke at a St. Patrick's Day ceremony at the White House.

TEXT: St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. And the president used the occasion to talk about a vision of peace.

///BUSH ACT///

We seek a lasting peace for the people of Northern Ireland, a peace that will allow people to live free of terror and intimidation.

///END ACT///

Standing side-by-side with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, Mr. Bush said the goal is to create a region that is prosperous and locally governed.

///BUSH ACT///

I call for a permanent end to all political violence. There is no place for paramilitaries in a democratic society.

///END ACT///

Prime Minister Ahern said some progress has been made in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, but much more must be done. He spoke with a bit of a sense of urgency, saying he remains convinced the Good Friday peace agreement signed about six years ago can be fulfilled.

///AHERN ACT///

The priority now is to overcome the remaining challenges and finish the job once and for all. ///begin opt/// (British) Prime Minister Blair and I are, therefore, redoubling our efforts to resolve those issues that remain outstanding so that the promise and potential of the agreement can be fully realized. ///end opt///

///END ACT///

The White House event was one of several held to mark St. Patrick's Day in Washington, with the president and the prime minister traveling to Capitol Hill for a luncheon with congressional leaders.

The two will meet again in late June when President Bush goes to Ireland to attend an E-U - U-S summit. Ireland currently holds the revolving presidency of the European Union. (signed)

NEB/PW/RH/FC



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