24 September 2008 Junior Ministers Tell USA Of Path To Peace
Junior Ministers tell USA of Path to Peace
Junior Ministers Jeffrey Donaldson and Gerry Kelly stressed the importance of our relationship with the United States this evening, describing it as one which is grounded in mutual respect and cooperation.
They were speaking at the Co-operation Ireland dinner in New York’s Roosevelt Hotel, where they shared their vision for the future here and highlighted the opportunities and challenges which remain for building on the peace.
At the dinner, the Ministers received the Peace Dove Award which is presented annually to an honouree(s) who has been involved in peace work and/or the peace process.
Addressing the Co-operation Ireland audience, Mr Donaldson thanked Co-operation Ireland for the award, accepting it on behalf of all the people in Northern Ireland.
Mr Donaldson said: “I believe that Northern Ireland has a contribution to make in areas such as research and development, science and technology and peace building. We want to work with the United States in these areas and by doing so create a new dynamic which benefits us all.
“Some of you may know that we hosted a hugely successful Investment Conference in May of this year. It was fully supported by the administration and the European Union. Ninety US companies came to see what Northern Ireland has to offer. Many could not understand why they had waited so long. Many have already been back.”
Mr Donaldson also spoke of the progress which has been made over the years and the importance that the United States continues its support.
“I cannot over emphasize how much we value the relationship that we have with the United States. Northern Ireland has changed politically and economically and over the next few years our relationship with the United States will change too. I hope it will evolve into one where we strengthen our economic ties, we improve our educational links and we work together to share our experiences of reconciliation with other parts of the world.”
Mr Kelly told the audience of the need to move towards a society where there is respect and understanding of each other’s traditions.
"This is a future where irrespective of difference our children can play together, where people can work together and where families can live happily side by side, regardless of their community background, their ethnic background, their gender or their beliefs. This recognition of mutual respect and inter-dependence are the determining factors that will help give us a stable, prosperous and equal society.
"The Executive is fully committed to building a shared and better future for all. We are bringing forward a programme of cohesion, sharing and integration to tackle issues of sectarianism and racism.
"Let me be clear about this, there can be no place for inequality or sectarianism, racism or hate crimes in our community. We are committed to removing the physical and social divisions within our communities and tackling prejudice and intolerance," added Mr Kelly.