Will we see sustained peace in Northern Ireland?
Question: Is the peace in Northern Ireland sustainable?
George Mitchell: I hope so. And, obviously, pray that it will be durable and sustained, and that it will be followed by genuine reconciliation, which has not yet arrived. It’s still a divided society that’s still segregated in many ways, but I think that, with each passing day, peace being established and the economy doing well, the likelihood of their reversion to widespread sectarian conflict goes down. I stress the economy. I spent a good bit of time in the Balkans before I went to Northern Ireland. I spent a good bit of time in the Middle East after I left Northern Ireland, and while they’re different, these and other conflict situations, while not being primarily economic in nature, all have an important economic underpinning. And I’ve come to believe that you have to deal with political and security measures, but you have to include economics right at the very top. You need economic growth, you need job creation, you need opportunity for people, education, skill, knowledge- all of that if you want to reduce the likelihood of conflict. That isn’t guaranteed stability, prosperity and reconciliation, but without it, it’s very difficult to obtain.