[Sinn Fein]

14th February 2003

Belfast Mayor on US coast to coast tour for peace, inward investment and job creation

Belfast Mayor Alec Maskey is leaving for the US on Sunday on a coast to coast tour. The unprecedented tour will cover eleven cities including Boston, New York, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland and Seattle. Among those that he will meet are Mayors, civil leaderships and business people.

Speaking prior to his departure Mayor Maskey said:

``I am delighted to be going on this coast to coast tour of the United States. It is unprecedented for a Mayor from Belfast to embark on such a project.

``There is a lot of goodwill across North America for the people of Ireland and particularly for the people of Belfast. I will be tapping into that goodwill.

``My message to the Mayors, the civic leaderships and the business people is simple and straightforward: `Peace, inward investment and job creation'.

``This is a great opportunity for me as Mayor to promote Belfast. despite its difficulties, as a place to invest in, to visit and to enjoy what the city has to offer.

``I will be looking to build on the trade links that already exist between Belfast and many of the cities that I will be visiting. The people there already know that Belfast is a city worth investing in.

``I will be carrying forward the City Council's economic plan and this week I met with `Invest Northern Ireland' to get an economic briefing from them. My intention is to lobby as widely as I can on behalf of both agencies.

``For me it is a case of all shoulders to the wheel to generate prosperity in Belfast and I will be doing my best while in the US to promote this city and its people.''

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