Haass involvement in NI over

Published Thursday, 09 January 2014
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Former US diplomat Richard Haass has told UTV that his involvement in Northern Ireland is at an end and, indirectly, he seems to blame unionists for a lack of leadership.

Haass involvement in NI over
Dr Richard Haass speaking to UTV from New York. (© UTV)

In an interview from New York, Dr Haass said that he is "somewhat frustrated" that the negotiations he independently chaired with Professor Meghan O'Sullivan ended without agreement on New Year's Eve.

"On the other hand," he said, "it's still a living process and we'll see what happens with it."

"At the end of the day, leaders have to lead and we believe that this was a good agreement. Just to be clear, it was not my agreement or Meghan O' Sullivan's agreement."

The pair were brought in by the region's leaders Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in an attempt to resolve issues surrounding flags, parades and the past in Northern Ireland, but after seven draft proposals an agreement was not reached.

The former US envoy to Northern Ireland said: "It was the agreement that was essentially negotiated with and by the five parties that formed the Executive and I believe that the people of Northern Ireland as a whole would be better off.

"I also think that each party has more than enough in the agreement that they should be able to take the case to their respective constituents and make the case."

When asked if Unionists were to blame for there being no agreement, Dr Haass replied: "Two parties endorsed the agreement and three parties did not. Two of them are Unionist and one was Alliance.

"Again, I believe that all parties are in a position that there is more than enough in the agreement that they should be able to point to it and make the case exactly why it is worth their support.

"There's a lot in it for Unionists, I believe there's a lot in it for the members and supporters of Alliance, there's a lot in it for Nationalists and Republicans.

"Most important, there's a lot in it for Northern Ireland as a whole, as a society."

© UTV News
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49 Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (192 days ago):
@maggie in north or Ireland. Where were all the democrats when the flying of the flag was changed? Banging at the doors of the city hall when a DEMOCRATIC decision was made. We will just see in the elections how good a leader Mike Nesbit is. The UUP of Trimble has gone. With all the Unionist parties to split the unionist vote how can Mike Nesbit get a look in. Look at the bigger picture Maggie. There is the DUP, UUP, NI21, UKIP, TUV, PUP and maybe even The Protestant Coalition. What would your flag suggestion be? Mine is both flags or no flags. The Union Jack to me represents terrorists. The British and American governments have more blood on their hands than the IRA will ever have.
maggie in north of ireland wrote (193 days ago):
Ryan Dn Dun. You comment do favour one side.and very unfair against Mike Nesbit.Mike has had dealing with the victims of the terrorist both sides so his experience of the victim's families will make him understand more.NOW he is a Unionist leader and he is there to get the best for the Unionist voters. Not sit and agree with Sinn Fein. he has a good idea who he is dealing with, the problems they have made for us.We do not need on the Unionist side politicans who cannot listen to the voter. To sit there when silly suggestions were made such as licencing the flying of a flag anyone would not refuse.Haass has the call from the Irish Americans who have no understanding of the Unionist cause.It is all to soon to come up with proposials We need justice for the victims first. then think of how to make this provence a better place to live and not crush democracy
Ryan in An Dun wrote (193 days ago):
@maggie in north of Ireland. How one sided I am? I condemn attacks on both sites of the community if you would bother reading them. You see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear. The truth of the matter is that mike Nesbit is dodging the decision. If he makes a wrong decision then they will loose votes. So what's the answer. Get an American to make as a scape goat. Catch yourself on maggie. Sinn Fein are representing their voters and making decisions going by what their voters want. They can't please everyone all of the time but they are making decisions rather than sitting on the sidelines.
Joseph in Belfast wrote (195 days ago):
The Anglo Irish Agreement in 1985 changed everything and the GFA added to it. When you consider also that 55 per cent of school kids under 18 are Nationalists then Unionists are better off doing a deal now on these 3 issues rather than later.
John in Creggan wrote (196 days ago):
@Think twice,Where working class Unionists better off pre the Good Friday Agreement? Did they have more jobs, better housing, better schooling? I can tell you that many within Nationalism feel that they have conceded a lot for the Agreement, accepting The North as part of the UK etc. Because they accept The North as part of the Union does not however make them "Unionists". Nor do I suspect do many really care about the Tricolor having equal status with the Union flag on government buildings, but they do want their Irish identity given respect. Slaging people off for accepting the Queens head etc. is disrespectful & gives the impression that Unionists never really wanted change & that the IRA ceasefires in 1994 caught them on the hop forcing them into a situation that they where unprepared for, that is why they have been renegotiating the deal from 1998 until now. Your Union is safe but It's not like any other part of the Union a considerable & growing minority consider themselves a different race with a history, culture & language that predates the Plantation, the vast majority of who voted in 1998 to give the new North a go. Respect that with a bit of grace & the Union may be secured forever. I feel that for some on both sides that a shared future is their biggest nightmare, a North neither fully Irish nor fully British, I also suspect that most are happy with that compromise.
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BRIAN ROWAN
The pictures from Stormont this week showed us how politics here still walks in and out of step.
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