November 3, 1997 in Nation/World

First Lady Sidesteps Protesters On Visit To London, Hillary Clinton Avoids Discussing Convicted Nanny

Associated Press
 

Hillary Rodham Clinton congratulated Britain on peace talks in Northern Ireland on Sunday, strolled unrecognized in a London park and missed a protest about a British nanny convicted of murder in Massachusetts.

Clinton, who arrived Friday from a speaking tour in Northern Ireland, spent part of the weekend with Prime Minister Tony Blair at Chequers, his official country residence north of London.

About 25 protesters who got word of her only official engagement in England - a reception for about 100 people at the U.S. Embassy on Sunday afternoon - lined up with placards demanding the release of 19-year-old Louise Woodward.

But Clinton, driven in the back entrance as is routine security for VIPs, didn’t see the demonstrators.

In remarks at the reception, Clinton said the euphoria about peace in Northern Ireland that she had sensed during President Clinton’s trip there in 1995 has gone.

“There certainly is a hopefulness and perhaps a more pragmatic sense of what it will take to try to bring the parties together,” she added. “The president will stand with those who take risks for peace.”

Current peace talks include supporters of the Catholic-based Irish Republican Army and leaders of the main Protestant parties in the British province.

U.S. Ambassador Philip Lader, an old friend of the Clintons’ who assumed his post a month ago, said Hillary Clinton and his wife, Linda Lasourd Lader, walked Sunday morning in Holland Park, in west London, and “no one recognized her.”

Clinton, who was flying home Sunday, referred obliquely to Princess Diana, whose funeral she attended at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 6, saying it was good to be back “in circumstances more pleasant than on the last visit.”

She made no reference, however, to the case arousing strong feelings on both sides of the Atlantic. Woodward was convicted Thursday of murder in the death of an 8-month-old boy in her care.

Candles burned in flowerpots on the ground outside the embassy. A tree in Grosvenor Square, which the embassy faces, was wrapped with a yellow ribbon and a message saying: “No justice. Free Louise now.”

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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