Wheels Down in London and Belfast
7:10 am The President and First Lady arrive Heathrow Airport, London, England
Since Northern Ireland is a region of the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister John Major extended the honor of a state visit to the President and First Lady starting in London. Along with all of the pomp and ceremony of such an occasion, it also afforded Major the opportunity to discuss his support for the ongoing peace negotiations amongst his government, the Republic of Ireland, and participating political leaders in Belfast.
The President. I accept the British Government's position announced yesterday in the twin tracks. That is, I believe the agreement represented—or reflected in what Prime Minister Bruton and Prime Minister Major announced yesterday has set forth a framework within which these differences of opinion can be resolved. And I hope the framework will be accepted by all the parties. [...].
Prime Minister Major. Well, there were a whole range of points we've been discussing over the last few days. It wasn't just the decommissioning issue. There were a range of other issues as well. And I think time wore away the difference—time and patience on both sides. [...]
9:10 am The PRESIDENT and First Lady arrive Aldergrove Airport, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The President and the First Lady then flew aboard Air Force One for approximately one hour to Royal Air Force Base Aldershot, which serves as the international airport. The temperature was below freezing outside Belfast as the traditional red carpet was rolled out across the tarmac to the towering Boeing 747. As President Clinton emerged, important political dignitaries lined up for handshakes and photographs with the First Couple.