Queen arrives in Northern Ireland for historic meeting | News | DW | 27.06.2012
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Queen arrives in Northern Ireland for historic meeting

Queen Elizabeth II has been meeting leaders on both sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian divide. Her latest trip includes a historic meeting with Republican militant-turned-politician Martin McGuinness.

The British monarch on Tuesday prayed with Catholic and Protestant community leaders at a service in the town of Enniskillen, site of a 1987 bomb attack that claimed 11 lives.

As well as meeting survivors of the IRA attack, the queen visited a Roman Catholic church - the first time she has done so in 20 visits to Northern Ireland.

Watch video 01:07

A gesture of reconciliation

Queen Elizabeth II had arrived in the province earlier in the day, ahead of a historic meeting with Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness on Wednesday.

The meeting with McGuinness - a former commander of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) - is being seen by some as the culmination of a peace process that has taken more than two decades to achieve.

During the four-decade conflict, in which Republicans fought for a united Ireland ruled from Dublin, some 3,600 people on both sides of the religious and political divide were killed.

The Provisional IRA's campaign of violence alone claimed some 1,755 lives during the period commonly referred to as "the troubles." Among the victims was the queen's own cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, in 1979.

Only last year, McGuinness' party, Irish nationalists Sinn Fein, turned down an invitation to be present during the queen's first-ever visit to the Irish Republic.

rc/ncy (AP, Reuters)

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