US Secretary of State doesn’t “see the need for someone fulltime”

Despite the suggestion in the Belfast Telegraph report, the statement by Assistant Secretary of State, J P Crowley, that “She is the Secretary of State, not a special envoy”, is not contradicted by the quotes from US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. From the Belfast Telegraph

Mrs Clinton said that the progress made since the Good Friday Agreement was forged means that the special envoy role has changed dramatically from the days when her husband first appointed George Mitchell to the post. “The problems that the continuing efforts toward finalising the agreements in the Good Friday Accord are really up to the parties themselves, and certainly in consultation with the British Government and, to a lesser extent, the Irish government,” she said. As such, she said that she doesn’t “see the need for someone fulltime”.

The key to understanding the previous mis-briefings is that this represents a climb-down by Hillary Clinton from her previously stated position noted by Brian, and an acceptance of the position as stated by Barack Obama – which caused such outrage at the time amongst certain Irish-American lobbyists.

In particular, the Clinton-supporting Niall O’Dowd.

Irish Voice publisher Niall O’Dowd, who supported Mrs Clinton in the Democratic primaries, said the statement was unclear but warned that any weakening of US input in the North would be “completely unacceptable” to Irish-Americans. “A special envoy continues to be vital and necessary,” he said. “Wholehearted American support and involvement will also be vital in resolving the upcoming issues of policing and devolution.”

Adds Niall Stanage on the exaggarated importance of the Irish-American vote, and that of the influence of the Irish-American lobby.