Clinton Travels to Belfast Amid Tensions

Posted December 7th, 2012 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
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Hillary Clinton travels to Northern Ireland Friday, one of her last trips as U.S. Secretary of State.

She visits Belfast amid renewed tensions in the city between the Protestant and Catholic communities after city lawmakers voted earlier this week not to fly the British flag all year long on government buildings. Violence broke out in Belfast after the controversial vote.

Thousands of people died in in three decades of of sectarian bloodshed between Northern Irish Protestants favoring continued union with Britain, and Catholics seeking a unified Ireland.

On Thursday, Clinton was in Dublin at a meeting with human rights activists where she issued sharp criticism for a number of Eastern European and Central Asian nations. She said they are backsliding on democratic reforms.

Clinton warned that Russia is trying to “re-Sovietize” Eastern Europe and Central Asia by creating a regional trade bloc known as the Eurasian Union. She said the project is really an effort to re-assert Soviet-era controls on the region, and that Washington is working to “slow down or prevent it.”