independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Obama to visit Northern Ireland

US president Barack Obama will visit Belfast before the G8 summit, the White House has confirmed.

The president is expected to meet political and community leaders during a whistle-stop tour of the city next month.

"The president's trip will begin in Belfast, where he will engage with the people of Northern Ireland and highlight the hard work, dialogue, and institutional development they have undertaken together," a statement said.

It will be President Obama's first time in Northern Ireland. Two years ago he travelled to the Republic for a state visit which took in Dublin and Moneygall in Co Offaly - the birthplace of the his great-great-great-grandfather.

Mr Obama is among eight world leaders jetting into Northern Ireland for the G8 conference at the luxury Lough Erne golf resort on the outskirts of Enniskillen on June 17 and 18.

"The summit and related meetings will provide the president and his fellow world leaders an opportunity to address pressing economic, political, and security challenges around the globe and to promote the advancement of trade and greater transparency among G-8 members and the developing world," added the White House spokesman.

It has been revealed an additional 3,600 police officers would be drafted in from forces across the UK to help the PSNI provide security for the two-day event.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott said he was expecting thousands of protesters. The private security firm G4S - which failed to provide enough security guards during the Olympics - has also been awarded a contract for the G8.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said despite concerns over their performance at the Olympics, the UK Foreign Office was confident G4S could deliver.

After the G8 Mr Obama will travel to Berlin for an official visit and meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Details of the First Lady's travel will be announced at a later date.

Press Association

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