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Obama to host Irish PM at White House

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-03-13 09:33

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will host Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the White House next Tuesday on the occasion of St Patrick's Day, the White House said on Tuesday.

The pair will meet in the Oval Office on the morning of March 19, followed by a traditional St. Patrick's Day lunch at the US Capitol. "In the evening, the president and the first lady will host a reception to celebrate their fifth St. Patrick's Day at the White House," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

During the reception, the Taoiseach will present a box of Irish shamrock to the president in a ceremony started under then President Harry Truman.

St Patrick's Day is Ireland's national holiday, and it has become a celebration of Irish culture in general in the United States where there are a large number of Irish descendants.

Kenny came to the White House in March every year since he became the Taoiseach in March 2011.

In his statement, Carney praised US-Ireland ties, saying the two countries "share a strong bilateral partnership, enduring people-to-people ties, and a commitment to advancing peace, security and prosperity in the world."

Obama will also greet First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Northern Ireland at the White House on March 19 to "discuss their progress toward meeting their shared commitment to a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Northern Ireland", Carney added.

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