DFM criticises Nesbitt for talks snub

DFM criticises Nesbitt for talks snub

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has criticised UUP leader Mike Nesbitt for refusing to engage in further talks on the future of the Haass proposals on flags, parades and the past.

Speaking in the assembly on Monday, Mr McGuinness criticised Mr Nesbitt for not engaging in the process."I wonder what the Mike Nesbitt who interviewed me many many years ago on behalf of UTV, how he would conduct an interview with the Mike Nesbitt of today," he said."I have to say, he has turned out to be a major disappointment in this entire process and someone who has not contributed in any serious way to finding solutions to very serious problems."The draft proposals on remaining contentious issues in Northern Ireland remain without consensus after the talks ended in December last year.The recent details that emerged of a deal that Sinn Féin struck with the British government that saw so-called 'comfort letters' issued to some 190 on-the-runs also put the process in jeopardy.DUP leader Peter Robinson has said he is not willing to talk about the past until the outcome of a two-month judge-led review into the scheme.Mr McGuinness acknowledged the OTR scandal had caused "much discussion" but remained positive a way forward on Haass was possible if politicians showed "leadership"."I think the big challenge for us, and certainly the scenario I would like to see, is whatever is happening in terms of whatever reviews are taking place over the OTRs that doesn't interrupt the essential work the party leaders have to engage in if we are to bring the Haass proposals to a successful conclusion," he added.The UUP leader told UTV that he would not participate as he had not received an agenda as requested."I'm not going to sit in a debate about parades, the past and flags with Sinn Féin acting in bad faith," he said."They know that and it's just a sign of very very bad government that they can't produce an agenda for a meeting and Martin McGuinness knows he can't strap me to a seat and make me sit in leaders' talks."First Leaders meeting on Haass taking place today. UU leader Mike Nesbitt confirms to UTV he's not attending— Tracey Magee (@Tracey_utv) March 24, 2014

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