Northern Ireland Peace and British Naval Hostages Held in Iran To Be Discussed
Washington, DC— Congressman Brian Higgins, a member of the House Ad-Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, will meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley this week while traveling through Ireland and Northern Ireland. The meetings follow a momentous week in which Adams and Paisley, meeting face to face for the first time, agreed to form a joint administration for Northern Ireland.
“I am looking forward to sitting down with Prime Minister Blair, Mr. Adams, and Reverend Paisley at this time of great hope and optimism for the people of Northern Ireland,” said Higgins.
Higgins, who is traveling with ten other members of the Ad-Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs, will participate in meetings focused on advancing negotiations to restore the power-sharing executive, set to take over on May 8, 2007.
“The events of last week mark a historic breakthrough in the peace process,” Higgins said. “For the first time, the province’s two major party leaders have reached their own joint settlement for a peaceful and democratic Northern Ireland. I applaud their dedication to a better future for their people, and I am honored to represent the United States as talks proceed to make this remarkable agreement a reality.”
Higgins will also be briefed on the ongoing standoff between Britain and Iran over 15 British navy personnel being held hostage in Iran. The 15 service members, captured while participating in a UN-mandated force monitoring the Persian Gulf, have been detained in Iran since March 23.