Woods and US secretary hold discussions


The US Secretary of Education, Mr Richard Riley, was among the members of a congressional delegation which accompanied the Clinton family to Ireland yesterday.

The Minister for Education, Dr Woods, hosted a reception for Mr Riley and other senior US officials in Dublin. In their discussions, Dr Woods and Mr Riley reviewed progress in relation to the Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Co-operation which they designed during a visit by Mr Riley in June.

Dr Woods thanked Mr Riley for helping the recently established task forces on autism and dyslexia by sending US experts to Ireland in October to exchange information. They also discussed arrangements for the placement of a number of Irish teachers working in the area of special needs at US education establishments.

The delegation consisted of senior figures including Senators Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy and Jack Reid. Nine members of the House of Representatives are also on the trip.

As Air Force One flew to Ireland President Clinton was on the phone listening to the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr Ehud Barak, explain the reasons behind his resignation, a White House spokesman said.

"The prime minister initiated the call. He wanted to explain to the President his reasoning for proceeding with elections," said spokesman Mr P.J. Crowley. The conversation lasted for half-an-hour.

According to the spokesman, the two leaders "also discussed the situation on the ground and the peace process".

President Clinton assured Mr Barak he would continue to press Congress to approve additional aid worth $450 million for Israel, the spokesman said.