U.S. President tasks world leaders on unity

US President Barack Obama waves as he departs the White House for his trip to Saudi Arabia, Germany and Great Britain on April 19, 2016, in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama heads to Saudi Arabia Tuesday amid tensions over congressional legislation which would potentially allow the royal government to be sued in American courts over the September 11, 2001 attacks. / AFP PHOTO / MOLLY RILEY

US President Barack Obama waves as he departs the White House for his trip to Saudi Arabia, Germany and Great Britain on April 19, 2016, in Washington, DC.<br />US President Barack Obama heads to Saudi Arabia Tuesday amid tensions over congressional legislation which would potentially allow the royal government to be sued in American courts over the September 11, 2001 attacks. / AFP PHOTO / MOLLY RILEY

Speaking on peace process, United States President, Barack Obama has urged leaders to always put their home countries first before any other considerations.

The next generation of leaders, according to him, must forge a new identity, deciding firmly that their home country, as a whole is more important than any particular faction of any particular flag.

President Obama, who was speaking in London yesterday to an audience of young people was quoted by the BBC as saying: “You know better than I do, but one of the things you see in Northern Ireland that’s most important is the very simple act of recognising the humanity of those on the other side of the argument. Having empathy and a sense of connection to people who are not like you.

“That has taken time, but you are now seeing that among young people who are interacting more. It requires forging a new identity that is about being from Northern Ireland as opposed to unionist or Sinn Féin, just deciding the country as a whole is more important than any particular faction or any particular flag. This is a challenging time to do that because there is so much uncertainty in the world right now.”

Starting in 1960, conflict erupted in Britain over the Northern Ireland question, which spanned over three decades of violence, claiming over 3,500 lives and causing over 50,000 casualties. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was seen as a major step in the peace process, including decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems and sporadic violence has continued.

The US President said one of the most encouraging things he had seen in Northern Ireland were children going to school together and having a sense of oneness we as opposed to divisiveness.

Earlier while speaking at the Royal Horticultural Halls in central London, Obama said the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, to advocate against racially-motivated police violence, has been effective, but risks alienating people if the message is delivered in an overly harsh manner.

He was quoted by the CNN to have said:”You can’t just keep on yelling at them and you can’t refuse to meet because that might compromise the purity of your position.” The American Black Lives Matter movement sprung from incidents of police violence in the US. “The value of social movements and activism is to get you at the table, get you in the room and then start trying to figure out how is this problem going to be solved, Obama said. The US President stressed that complacency must be avoided in addressing racial issues, even as progress is evident.



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