Haass returns to NI to resume talks

Published Monday, 28 October 2013
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The former US envoy, Richard Haass, has returned to Northern Ireland to continue all-party talks on contentious issues.

Haass returns to NI to resume talks
Richard Haass arrived back in NI on Monday morning. (© Pacemaker)

Dr Haass was chosen by the Executive to lead discussions aimed at resolving the long-standing problems surrounding parades, flags and emblems and the past.

He has been meeting politicians and community leaders since the beginning of last month.

The American diplomat arrived back in NI on Monday to resume his work, he met with the leaders of the non-Executive parties and will host another round of meetings throughout the week.

These are expected to include visits to Dublin as well as talks with Secretary of State Theresa Villiers MP in London and other interested groups.

Last week Mr Haass met with Prime Minister David Cameron and this week he is expected to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

"The two governments are the guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, and if legislation was needed, the governments have got to be on board," political editor Ken Reid explained.

"It does show the significance the two governments are paying to this process."

Mr Haass said it's too early yet to be "taking the temperature" of the discussions and hopes that a point will soon come where things will "pivot".

He explained: "When you're doing a negotiation the mood changes at times, sometimes pessimistic, sometimes optimistic.

"Rarely does the change in temperature of the mood have much to do with the reality.

"I don't carry a thermometer with me to calculate the mood - it's also just way too soon to be taking the temperature, let's just give it time.

"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."

On his last visit in September, Richard Haass had about 30 meetings with about 100 different people including politicians, academics, religious and business leaders and civil servants.

The Haass team has received around a hundred written submissions so far and most have called for progress.

Mr Haass added: "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."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Eamo1 in Belfast wrote (453 days ago):
Mike go read Normand's comment and then mine. I was talking about the independance Hass will bring to the table.
shamrock in Belfast wrote (454 days ago):
'we must leave behind our siege mentality' to quote jet set Robinson.Haass has no chance of success when he has to deal with troglodyte loyalists stuck in 1690!! These people don't want a shared future, they hanker for the good old days of protestant majority rule and 'our own way'. It will be only in future generations that there will be any semblance of normality here.
Mike in Derry wrote (455 days ago):
Need someone impartial Eamo1 ? and richard haass and his side kick Meghan are what? You want impartial then get a buddhist,sikh etc lots to go at
Joe in Co Down wrote (455 days ago):
Ah Richard Haass has his work cut out for him with this never give an inch lot. Living in the past mentality so used to get their own way for years and now demanding they get their own way in the future. They do not want a shared future.
Gerry in Australia wrote (455 days ago):
Why don't UTV, BBC and the rest of the mainstream media tell us that Haass is the president of the US council on foreign relations which is a promoter of one world global dictatorship government and population control, here is one of his quotes, "The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalisation, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy." No doubt this will not be posted.
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