Published Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Peter Robinson gave his view on how the Haass talks are progressing. (© UTV)
The DUP leader was speaking on Tuesday after the former US envoy, Dr Haass, arrived back in Northern Ireland this week for the second round of all-party discussions on solving a number of long-standing issues such as parades, flags and dealing with the past.
Mr Robinson told UTV: "I think there is a requirement for people to focus and unless you do have a deadline everybody just runs at the end anyway.
Dr Haass was chosen by the Executive to lead discussions on some of NI's most contentious issues, and has been meeting politicians and community leaders since September.
I expect that Dr Haass will step things up during the course of November and during December. That will be a fairly intensive period of negotiations.
Peter Robinson, DUP leader
Speaking following Dr Haass's meeting with the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in London on Tuesday, SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said "in coming to these negotiations we must be mindful of what sort of society we want to see emerging".
"In that society people will have the right to fly flags in the right circumstances and people will have the right to parade where dialogue has taken place," he added.
"However in that society people will also accept that with such rights come responsibilities.
"In that society the pain of victims will not be buried but will be addressed by a meaningful truth and reconciliation process. In that society we won't see insensitive parades that commemorate or glorify violence or paramilitarism."
Mr McDonnell called for genuine commitment from all political parties to result in a "rule-book" for flags and parades at the end of the process.
"If they fail to do so we could tolerate Dr Haass imposing his own solutions. However, I sincerely hope that leaders here can do all they can to ensure they write this particular rule-book," he added.
There is a duty on political parties to seize the opportunity presented by the Haass talks or risk condemning future generations to division and uncertainty.
Alasdair McDonnell, SDLP leader
Speaking on Monday, Richard Haass explained that he is still "listening and learning".
He said: "We're still in the phase of what I would call listening and learning, there's a point at which that will start to pivot and that will happen on my next visit when we're working with the leadership of the parties to try and come to some common language.
"My own sense from the bulk of the submissions is that the vast majority of people are ready for compromise, are ready for progress or ready to move on."
He previously expressed optimism that agreement can be reached by the December deadline.
Dr Haass also met Secretary of State Theresa Villiers in London on Tuesday and is set to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny and others later this week.
On Wednesday the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will address a forum assessing peace building and reconciliation in Northern Ireland 15 years on from the Good Friday Agreement at Dublin Castle ahead of his visit.
© UTV News