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Notice that Mr. McGuinness does not bow his head, yet Queenie looks quite happy when they greet each other.

(WASHINGTON) Congressman Richard E. Neal, the senior Democrat on the Friends of Ireland Caucus in the United States Congress, released the following statement in anticipation of Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness meeting Queen Elizabeth in Belfast today. For more than three decades, Neal has been a leader in the effort to bring peace and reconciliation to the island of Ireland. Mr McGuinness has been making serious effotrs to reach out the hand of peace to his Unionist neighbors for some time.

Congressman Robert E. Neal (D)

“As the leading Democrat on the Friends of Ireland Caucus in the United States Congress, I welcome in the strongest possible terms the announcement that deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will meet and shake hands with Queen Elizabeth for the first time at an event in Belfast sponsored by the cross border charity Co-operation Ireland. I applaud this expression of civility and respect, and believe it is another significant milestone in the peace process. It is also another powerful reminder that we are living in an unprecedented period in Irish history where the impossible routinely becomes possible.

For supporters of the peace process, a meeting between Martin McGuinness and Queen Elizabeth would have been unimaginable just a few short years ago. But times have changed, and we are now witnessing a new era of partnership where former adversaries now work together building a shared and more inclusive future. The Irish peace process has become a model for successful conflict resolution around the world, and tomorrow’s meeting will be another sign of genuine reconciliation and healing.”

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