updated 12/7/2007 9:19:12 AM ET 2007-12-07T14:19:12

Northern Ireland Protestant and Catholic leaders will meet with President Bush at the White House today.

Protestant leader Ian Paisley and Catholic leader Martin McGuinness are in Washington to thank the U.S. for its help in forging this year's historic power sharing agreement for Northern Ireland's government.

The joint Catholic-Protestant administration has ended decades of strife between the two religious groups. The 81-year-old Paisley now serves as Northern Ireland's First Minister, while McGuiness is his top deputy. The 57-year-old McGuinness is a former Irish Republican Army commander.

The two also hope to drum up American investment during a U.S. tour.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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