President Obama says North's peace process has become inspiring example to the world

The US President caused controversy yesterday after his comments on the upcoming 'Brexit' referendum

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Image: Ben Stansall / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The US President Barack Obama says the North's peace process has become a inspiring example to the world.

President Obama made the comment at a "town hall-style" question and answer session in London today.

He was responding to a question from Belfast woman Clíona McCarney.

Barack Obama says northern Ireland is inspiring efforts to end conflict around the world, saying in "Columbia right now they're trying to undergo a peace process - and they've actually brought people from Northern Ireland to come and describe how you overcome years of... hatred and intolerance":

Speaking after he made it clear he does not want the UK to leave the EU, President Obama appeared to make a veiled call for young people to vote to stay in the EU during the event.

On Friday, Mr Obama said a trade deal between the UK and US would be at the "back of the queue" if the UK quit the EU.

Mr Obama told the audience: "In an age of instant information, where TV and Twitter can feed a steady stream of bad news, it can sometimes seem like the order that we have created is fragile. We see calls for isolationism or xenophobia. We see those who would call for rolling back the rights of people.

"I think we can understand they are reactions to changing times. But, when I speak to young people, I implore them, and I implore you, to reject those calls to pull back."

Speaking at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London's Westminster, he went on to say: "My primary message is going to be to reject pessimism and cynicism, know that progress is possible and that problems can be solved.

"Progress requires the harder path of breaking down barriers and building bridges, and retaining the values of tolerance that our nations have worked to defend."

Out campaigner Boris Johnson, who was criticised on Friday for an attack on Mr Obama described as racist, shrugged off the accusation and continued to claim that Mr Obama was being "hypocritical".

He said on Saturday: "I think this is all a complete distraction. An attempt by the remain campaign to throw dust in people's eyes.

"Over the last few days, nobody on that side of the argument has been able to answer the key point that I have been making which is that it is inconsistent, perverse and yes, it is hypocritical of the United States to tell us that we should sacrifice more of our independence than they would ever dream of doing themselves."

Yesterday, Mr Obama intervened in the debate over Britain's EU membership during a news conference alongside David Cameron.

He said: "I think it's fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement.

"But it's not going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done."

Earlier, UKIP leader Nigel Farage also savaged Mr Obama's trade deal remarks, saying the president's intervention was at the "bidding of Cameron" and accused him of "doing his best to talk down to Britain".

The President had previously written in The Daily Telegraph that the sacrifice of his country's soldiers in Europe during the Second World War amplified America's stake in the debate.

On Friday night, Mr Obama and First Lady Michelle had dinner with Prince William, his wife Kate and Prince Harry, where he also met Prince George.

Before his meeting on Saturday, Mr Obama visited the Globe Theatre to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death.

He then went on to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and will meet David Cameron again this evening, when US ambassador Matthew Barzun will host a private dinner.