Obama begins tour of UK, Ireland

President Barack Obama

Thousands of people are expected to welcome US President Barack Obama to Dublin as he begins his tour of the UK and Ireland.

Mr Obama will also pay a visit to his ancestral home in Moneygall, Co Offaly, as part of a 24-hour visit to the Republic of Ireland.

He will then fly to the UK to begin a three day state visit, during which Britain and the United States are set to announce the creation of a joint security body to work together on long-term foreign affairs issues.

The new joint national security strategy board will be jointly headed by Britain National Security adviser Sir Peter Ricketts and his US counterpart, Tom Donilon, the Daily Telegraph reports.

It is expected to meet several times a year and look at issues such as potential threats from international terrorist organisations and rogue states.

The disclosure came after Foreign Secretary William Hague had earlier stated that the “special relationship” between London and Washington remains as close as ever.

“It is very special. I think the longer a US administration is in power the more they appreciate that,” he said.

“You can see that in government. The co-operation that I see every day in intelligence matters is without parallel in the world. So is our nuclear co-operation. Our armed forces are working together with intimate closeness.”

It is expected that the formation of a second US-UK body – a service personnel joint taskforce looking at welfare issues for serving and retired military personnel – will also be announced during the visit.

Thousands of people are expected to attend today’s open air concert in Dublin, which will feature Sharon Shannon, Mundy, The Coronas, Imelda May and Jedward.

Source: Press Association

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