Obama to welcome Irish prime minister

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is bringing the Irish prime minister to the White House on St. Patrick's Day.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday that Obama is welcoming Prime Minister Brian Cowen on March 17.

Gibbs says the new president is committed to strengthening U.S. ties with Ireland. He said the two countries already have deep cultural bonds and a "commitment for positive change" across the world. The spokesman said St. Patrick's Day is a reminder of the friendship the two countries share.

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