Haass talks return 'hyped-up' - Robinson

Published Wednesday, 11 June 2014
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First Minister Peter Robinson has said a return to the failed Haass talks on the past, parades and flags has been "hyped-up unnecessarily".

The DUP leader has also ruled out discussions on the past before the Hallett report into the 'on-the-runs' controversy is published next month.

The five executive parties are set to resume round-table negotiations in the coming weeks.

The talks come after former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass and his co-chair Megan O'Sullivan, an expert in international affairs, held six months of discussions last year to reach a resolution on the three main issues.

However, despite marathon sessions of talks, which broke the original Christmas deadline, and seven draft sets of proposals, a consensus could not be reached.

Two sessions of three-day discussions have been pencilled in for the coming weeks to attempt to broker a deal on the three contentious issues.

However, Mr Robinson said that politicians talking up their possible success risked putting pressure on themselves.

He said: "I think they (the talks) have been hyped-up unhelpfully and un-necessarily and I think all politicians who try that type of thing are putting pressure on themselves and building up expectation which at the end of the day is dashed.

"I would far rather have a sensible ongoing programme where we attempt to resolve these matters and surprise people if we get success rather than deflate them if we don't."

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has said Lady Justice Hallett's report into the 'on-the-runs' controversy will be further delayed until July.

It is one of three inquiries into the administrative scheme which sent so-called letters of comfort to those suspected of involvement in crimes committed during the Troubles.

Mr Robinson added: "Until the Hallett inquiry report is published the DUP will not be engaging in the directly-related discussions regarding the past."

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Voice in Ireland wrote (135 days ago):
Mr Robinson keeping progress and evolution back in NI while racist attacks rise, he doesn't know what he is doing.
shamrock in Belfast wrote (135 days ago):
Who listens to this intellectual lightweight????
Michael in Derry wrote (135 days ago):
Instead of giving people hope. He talks about hype, ie nothing is going to happen. That's the attitude to enter talks with.
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