Bill & Hillary Clinton to join Good Friday Agreement Conference along Tony Blair & Bertie Ahern

Bill & Hillary Clinton to join Good Friday Agreement Conference along Tony Blair & Bertie Ahern
Image by Mike Brice from Pixabay

Former President Bill Clinton will attend a major event commemorating the Good Friday Agreement, alongside other political leaders from Northern Ireland's peace process.

Sir Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, former PMs of the UK & Ireland respectively, will be attending a three-day event at Queen's University in Belfast to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their historic Good Friday Agreement.

Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who chaired the peace negotiations in 1998, will also be participating.

Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State, will be hosting the conference in her capacity as chancellor at Queen's University.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be present later this week.

This event is being hosted to mark the 25th anniversary of the agreement that largely ended Northern Ireland’s 30-year sectarian conflict.

Stormont, a world-renowned settlement in Northern Ireland, implemented powersharing institutions which required a mandatory coalition arrangement between nationalists & unionists to govern the region together.

While the pact largely ended the Troubles, which had claimed more than 3,600 lives since the late 1960s, it has failed to bring long-term political stability to Northern Ireland and devolution has collapsed several times in the last two decades.

The anniversary comes amid another period of collapse, as the DUP is blocking powersharing in protest at post-Brexit trading arrangements that have created economic barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement initially instituted the implementation of barriers.

The UK and EU have recently come to an agreement on the Windsor Framework as a way to reduce red tape caused by the protocol.

While the DUP has stated that the framework has addressed some of its concerns about the protocol, it believes that significant problems still remain.

The party has strongly opposed the framework at Westminster and will not participate in Stormont until they get additional guarantees of sovereignty and implementation of EU regulations in Northern Ireland from the UK government.

Several events occurred prior to the beginning of the conference over the weekend.

On Sunday evening, a special dinner was held at Hillsborough Castle to mark the contribution to the peace process made by the late Mo Mowlam, who had been the Northern Ireland secretary in 1998.