Windsor framework for dealing with Northern Ireland is ‘as good as anyone can get’ – The Irish Times
The new Windsor framework for dealing with Northern Ireland post-Brexit is “as good as anyone,” said former US President Bill Clinton.
At a conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in New York on Monday, he urged politicians in Northern Ireland to return to the Stormont Assembly.
Mr. Clinton told the audience about the difficulties he faced as President in his decision to grant then-Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams a visa to enter the United States in 1994.
The move has since been seen as a pivotal moment in the Northern Ireland peace process, but was opposed by many in the US government as well as London at the time.
Mr Clinton said only his own White House national security personnel supported the move.
“The State Department thought I needed to be conscripted.”
He said his ambassador to the United Kingdom, Admiral William Crowe, who had endorsed him for president in 1992, although he had previously served under Ronald Reagan as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told him he had made his job impossible.
Mr Clinton said in his speech: “You had elections in Northern Ireland. Brexit was a roadblock that threatened to blow it all up.”
“The Windsor framework is as good as anyone could get, I think, and we should set up the government and, I think, get on with the deal that the people have voted for delegates to serve in the Northern Ireland Parliament. “
Mr. Clinton said he has been involved in finding peace in various troubled areas around the world.
However, he said that “of all the peace agreements that have taken place in the last 25 years, nothing has compared to the Northern Ireland Agreement in terms of its durability”.
“You might see its flaws and you might see its imperfections (but), you have no idea how hard it is unless you’ve looked at all those other things. How unlikely it was, how good you should feel about what you did.”
“You must finish work now. Because this whole world could go haywire. ”
[ DUP likely to re-enter Stormont in May, rival unionists believe ]
Gerry Adams told the conference that the Good Friday Agreement is the most important political agreement of our time in Ireland.
He said it was “completely and utterly unacceptable” that Northern Ireland’s political institutions were suspended due to what he described as the intransigence of the DUP and the machinations of successive Tory governments in London.
“The result of the last Northern Ireland Assembly election must be respected,” he said.
[ What has Belfast Agreement delivered for the North’s youth? ]
Mr Adams said the “Democratic Unionist Party must take its ministerial posts with the rest of us”.
“And if the DUP remains adamant then the two governments should go ahead and use the all-Ireland mechanisms of the Good Friday Agreement. We can’t have a direct rule for a return from London, that’s not an option.”
“The agreement has mechanisms, a political architecture, and both governments should use this to move forward.”
“And the government must also implement elements of the agreement that are not yet in effect, including a Bill of Rights for the North.”
Gerry Adams also called on the UK government to repeal its “flawed and objectionable” legislation on the legacy of the Northern Ireland riots.
He said embedded in the agreement is the right of the Irish people to decide their future.
“For the first time in our history, there is a peaceful way to end the union with England and build our own future. ”
“The Irish Government should set up a citizens’ assembly, or a series of such assemblies, to discuss the process of constitutional change and the measures needed to build an all-Ireland economy, a truly national health and education system and all other needs of society.
“And we need national reconciliation. We need a citizen-centred, rights-based society, including the rights of our unionized neighbors, the Orange Order and other loyal institutions. The protection of the Good Friday Agreement is also their protection. The island of Ireland is their country, their own place, unionists are our neighbours, we want them to be our friends.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2023/04/04/bill-clinton-windsor-framework-for-dealing-with-northern-ireland-is-as-good-as-anyone-is-going-to-get/ Windsor framework for dealing with Northern Ireland is ‘as good as anyone can get’ – The Irish Times