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Obama Speaking In Belfast Ahead of G8 Summit

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Obama Speaking In Belfast Ahead of G8 Summit

Post  Panda on Mon 17 Jun - 12:28

Obama Speaking In Belfast Ahead Of G8 Summit

The US president speaks to young people in Belfast ahead of the G8 summit, which is set to be overshadowed by Syria divisions.

12:10pm UK, Monday 17 June 2013

Video: Barack Obama said Northern Ireland's best days are ahead

In welcoming the Obamas to Northern Ireland for the G8 summit, 16-year-old Hannah Nelson made a plea for peace.

Video: Hannah Nelson Introduces Michelle Obama

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By David Blevins, Ireland Correspondent
US president Barack Obama has said that when peace was achieved in Northern Ireland, it gave the world hope.
He told 2,000 students in Belfast ahead of the G8 summit: "You’re the first generation in this land to inherit more than just the hardened attitudes and bitter prejudices of the past.
"You now live in a thoroughly modern Northern Ireland."
His young audience has been described as "the generation of peace" - people born after the ceasefires.
He said day-to-day life was changing "throughout the north", adding that there was a time when a gathering of world leaders in Northern Ireland would have been "unimaginable".
Police patrol the River Erne near the location of the summit in Enniskillen
The president and his wife Michelle were introduced by 16-year-old schoolgirl Hannah Nelson, who said she wanted to see a permanent peace in her homeland.
"We should not let the past pull us apart and stop us moving forward. Somehow we need to make a brighter future, a future that builds bridges and brings people together," she said.
Mr Obama's comments took on a particular significance with the G8 summit in Lough Erne looking set to be dominated by international tensions over Syria.
Earlier, David Cameron said he is "as worried as anyone" about terrorist and extremist elements among opposition forces fighting to oust President Bashar Assad, and no decision has been made on arming the Syrian opposition.
The ongoing conflict in Syria threatens to overshadow the summit's scheduled discussions on trade, tax and transparency, after Mr Obama announced he was ready to start supplying weapons to the rebels seeking to overthrow Mr Assad.
Some of the key issues on the table at the G8 summit
Speaking at Lough Erne, Mr Cameron said: "Let's be clear - I am as worried as anybody else about elements of the Syrian opposition, who are extremists, who support terrorism and who are a great danger to our world.
"The question is what do we do about it? My argument is that we shouldn't accept that the only alternative to Assad is terrorism and violence.
"We should be on the side of Syrians who want a democratic and peaceful future for their country and one without the man who is currently using chemical weapons against them.
"What we can try and do here at the G8 is have further pressure for the peace conference and the transition that is needed to bring this conflict to an end."
Mr Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in London on Sunday to discuss the crisis in Syria, but appeared to have reached little common ground.
Mr Putin Met David Cameron but appeared to find little common ground
At a joint news conference, Mr Cameron acknowledged there were "big differences" between the two leaders on who was to blame for the conflict but insisted they could be overcome.
Mr Putin strongly defended the supply of arms by Moscow to Mr Assad's "legitimate" government, but also stressed he wanted to achieve a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
He said he believed the G8 summit is "one of the most appropriate means" to seek an end to the conflict.
When Mr Putin was asked by British journalists about comments by Mr Cameron last year – that those supporting Mr Assad had the blood of Syrian children on their hands – he reacted angrily.
He said: "One does not need to support people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support?

"Is it them you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years."
Mr Putin and Mr Obama will hold a separate bilateral meeting at the Lough Erne resort.
Mr Cameron is hosting both presidents and the political leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan at the plush golfing venue.
The summit is taking place amid a security operation of unprecedented scale, with some 8,000 police officers - 3,600 of them borrowed from forces in England, Scotland and Wales - on patrol.
Vehicle checkpoints are back on the streets, there is a no-fly-zone over the venue and an "armada" of security vessels is patrolling a secure stretch of Lough Erne.
Police have warned of significant disruption. Eight world leaders and their entourages will be on the move. Some 8,000 students sitting exams were advised to travel to school early.
With Mr Obama engaged in the serious business of world politics, the First Lady and their daughters will pay private visits to Dublin and Wicklow.
Two years ago, the president and his wife went to Moneygall in County Offaly, from where his great, great, great grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, emigrated in 1850 before settling in Indiana.
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