John Kerry to be presented with international peace award

US secretary of state is in Ireland for talks with Charlie Flanagan on Northern Ireland

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Ireland on Sunday for talks with Charlie Flanagan. He will also be awarded an international peace award. Photograph: Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Ireland on Sunday for talks with Charlie Flanagan. He will also be awarded an international peace award. Photograph: Reuters

 

John Kerry is in Ireland today for talks on Northern Ireland, Syria and Brexit.

Mr Kerry will meet Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and he will also be presented with the Tipperary International Peace Award for 2015.

The organisers of the event said the secretary was selected for his efforts to end conflicts in “a number of countries” and negotiations for the surrender of Syria’s declared chemical weapons.

Previous winners include Nobel peace prize winners Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon, former president of Ireland Mary McAleese and her husband Martin and Sir Bob Geldof.

Mr Kerry said he was grateful.

“I am truly honoured to be listed among the remarkable past recipients who have contributed so much to the cause of creating a more peaceful world,” he said

Mr Flanagan said: “As regards bilateral issues between Ireland and the US, I intend raising the issue of immigration reform in the United States, including relief for the undocumented Irish in the US and greater opportunities for Irish citizens to migrate to the US.”

US special envoy to Northern Ireland senator Gary Hart will also attend the talks.

Mr Kerry will travel to London on Monday for talks on the situation in Libya and on promoting support for the North African state’s Government of National Accord.

The country has been ripped apart by civil war and war against Islamic State in the years since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011 by rebels backed by Nato, including the US and Britain.

During the visit to the UK, the US Secretary will be honoured with two other awards.

He will receive the Benjamin Franklin House Medal for Leadership, which recognises contributions to diplomacy, public service, and human rights, and he will be given the Chatham House Prize, which is given to a statesman for significant contributions to the improvement of international relations.

He is receiving this year’s Chatham award jointly with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif.

Mr Kerry spearheaded talks between Iran and six world powers to curb the country’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

He will also meet London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the pair will take part in a discussion with young people on climate change and countering violent extremism.

Five groups involved in the anti-war movement in Ireland - Galway Alliance Against War, the Irish Anti-War Movement, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, Shannonwatch and Veterans for Peace - criticised the selection of Mr Kerry for a peace award.

PA