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The Difficult Path To Peace

On his way back from a crisis-ridden summit in Moscow - and with more troubles waiting for him back in Washington - President Clinton enjoyed a warm welcome Thursday as he stopped off in Northern Ireland.
Clinton's Trip To Ireland
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The White House brokered the peace deal that's now offering hope amid the horror of political violence in Ulster.

CBS Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley reports:

The president walked the ground of modern Ireland's greatest heartbreak on Thursday. It was only three weeks ago that the deadliest terror bomb in the island's history shattered the town of Omagh.

Twenty eight were killed. It was an attack on the peace process, but as Protestant and Catholic lay dying together, it became a force for peace.

"Out of the unimaginable, horrible agony of Omagh, the people said it is high time somebody told these people that we are through with hate! Through with war! Through with destruction! It will not work anymore!" the president said.

Mr. Clinton celebrated the historic Irish peace process that has been guided by the White House. Thursday, for the first time, enemies sat together in a new legislature. Mr. Clinton marveled - given the history of hate.

"No wonder this question was painted on a Belfast wall: Is there life before death? Now at last your answer is yes," he said.

Still, Northern Ireland is a very long way from trust. The sentiments painted on the wall that Mr. Clinton mentioned are not easily washed away after thirty years of violence. Here in Belfast, they want to believe in the renouncement of violence but they do not trust words alone.


A major obstacle now is the disarming of both sides. Gerry Adams, the political leader of the IRA, pledged that violence is over. It was breakthrough language worked out with the help of the White House.

Mr. Clinton hasn't enjoyed a day like this in a very long time. Tonight he offered the Irish not an easy end to violence but a difficult path to peace.

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