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Obama Spending St. Patrick's Day with Irish Leaders


U.S. President Barack Obama met with visiting Irish political leaders as part of traditional events marking St. Patrick's Day.

The president hosted Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen at the White House on Wednesday.

Mr. Obama is also meeting with Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness.

Earlier this month, Northern Ireland's legislature approved a landmark deal transferring police and criminal powers from London to the Catholic-Protestant government in Belfast.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the vote an "important step in ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future" for all the people of Northern Ireland.

St. Patrick's Day is a holiday that honors Ireland's patron saint.

Tens of millions of Americans have Irish ancestors, many of whom traveled to the U.S. in the 1840s to escape Ireland's great famine.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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