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Clinton and Blair welcome Trimble’s legacy of peace in Northern Ireland

#Clinton #Blair #Trimbles #legacy #peace #Northern #Ireland

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have lauded the political and personal courage underpinning David Trimble’s contribution to peace in Northern Ireland following the death of the former First Secretary.

Trimble, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the landmark 1998 peace accord that helped end three decades of conflict, died Monday at the age of 77.

Northern Ireland is again suffering from political tensions. The Stormont Assembly was due to reconvene on Tuesday to try to overcome weeks of post-election paralysis, but that was postponed after Trimble’s death.

Former British Prime Minister Blair, whose government negotiated the peace deal with Ireland and the United States, said peace could not have been achieved without Trimble’s “masterclass of leadership”.

“David was highly intelligent, very courageous,” Blair told BBC radio on Tuesday.

When asked to summarize his contribution, the former British leader said: “Huge.

“The hardest thing in leadership is saying no to your own followers. He did it and he wore it. He paid a political price but he never complained,” Blair added.

Former US President Clinton said Trimble is “a leader of courage and vision.”

“His legacy will live on in all who live better lives because of him today,” Clinton said in a statement late Monday.

Trimble’s death after a short illness was announced by his Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) on Monday.

No further details were given about the death of a politician who, despite his staunch pro-British beliefs, had worked with Irish nationalists to end the three decades of bloodshed known as the “Troubles”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described Trimble as a “giant of British and international politics”.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin praised the Nobel laureate as “someone who played a crucial and courageous role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland”.

– Fresh problems –

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, who is set to become Northern Ireland’s first female minister after her nationalist party won a historic victory in May’s general election, lauded Trimble’s “very significant contribution to the peace process”.

O’Neill’s accession is being held up by the now dominant pro-British force, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which refuses to serve with Sinn Féin in the power-sharing executive branch until London tears up a post-Brexit trade pact with the European Union.

The UK government is enforcing legislation to unilaterally rewrite the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, leading to legal action by the EU.

But the DUP has still refused to enter the power-sharing government.

UUP leader Doug Beattie called on the DUP and Sinn Féin to “show the same courage as in 1998” to restore the Belfast Executive and protect the peace.

The UUP also rejects the protocol. But in his last public appearance in late June, Trimble said the cornerstone of the peace remains.

“People aren’t actually throwing the (Good Friday) agreement to pieces, their grievances are still based on the existence of the agreement,” Trimble said while unveiling a portrait of him.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement largely ended the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland that claimed 3,500 lives.

After the 1998 Agreement, Trimble served as First Minister for Northern Ireland.

However, the UUP’s popularity waned amid union dislike for elements of the 1998 accord that were deemed too accommodating for Republicans.

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