McGuinness steps up pressure over Haass

Published Friday, 03 January 2014
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Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness says Unionist leaders must tell the public if they back the outcome of the Haass talks.

McGuinness steps up pressure over Haass
Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams during the Haass talks in Belfast (© Presseye)

On Friday the Deputy First Minister challenged the DUP and the Ulster Unionists to clarify where they stand on the draft agreement proposed by former US diplomat Richard Haass on how to solve disputes on flags, parades and dealing with the past.

The negotiations involving Northern Ireland's five main political parties ended without a deal in the early hours of New Year's Eve.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP have endorsed the Haass proposals, while the Alliance Party said it would support the proposal on the past.

The DUP and Ulster Unionists both indicated they had major difficulties with a number of proposals drawn up by the Haass team.

Peter Robinson and Mike Nesbitt said their respective parties will now discuss the document internally within their own structures.

The implementation of the Haass proposals must be the key priority for the five Executive parties. The time for taking decisions is here.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

"It is not unreasonable to ask both Unionist Party leaderships if they will be recommending acceptance of the Haass document to their party executives when and if they meet, rather than attempt to renegotiate the Haass proposals," Mr McGuinness said on Friday.

"People deserve to know the answers to these simple questions. We are elected to sort out these matters and seek resolutions.

"There is no ambiguity on where Sinn Féin stands. We have made it clear that despite reservations we were prepared to move forward and recommend acceptance," he added.

Earlier this week, Mr Robinson said he supported the proposal by Dr Haass to create a working group made up of representatives of the DUP, Sinn Féin, UUP, SDLP and Alliance.

"I will recommend to my party colleagues that they support the suggestion made by Dr Haass that a "working group" be established to see how agreed elements can be taken forward while seeking to resolve areas where disagreement remains," the First Minister said.

Dr Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and an envoy to Northern Ireland from 2001-2003, and talks vice-chairman Meghan O'Sullivan, a Harvard professor with experience in post-conflict Iraq, were asked in July by the Executive to submit recommendations for dealing with unresolved issues in Northern Ireland.

© UTV News
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18 Comments
Big Man in West Bank Derry wrote (104 days ago):
How many drafts has there been now, and the unionists still aren't happy. Your culture and traditions cannot be imposed on the catholic/nationalist communities anymore, we don't want it and aren't interested in it, keep it in your own areas. Fly all the flags you want and parade all day and night if you like, but you don.t have the right to do it wherever you like just because it's "tradition".
AK in Ireland wrote (105 days ago):
Hahaha stephen well were i come from all the people i know, my family, my extended family, my friends and my friends friends all say that their irish. Your completely deluded id tou think that stat is true. Thats the problem with unionism, you cant see the trees for the wood. Thats why the shinners are streets ahead..
desdodes in lower ormo wrote (105 days ago):
Nothing will be accepted by the CNR people unless it includes recognition. Re, The Tricolour
Stephen - Ballymena in 3559544434 wrote (105 days ago):
I am Unionist. Of all my friends, family, extended family and acquantainces I have discussed this with, not a SINGLE PERSON wanted the Haas talks to succeed. The agenda was set from the very start... It was a very poorly diguised attack on Unionist Culture (flags, parades) with a "dealing with the Past" section thrown in to make it less obvious. The unionist people are in a majority in this country (only 40% of catholics consider themselves Irish now) - and our opinions are clear and concise, and for once, our political leadership have reflected that. Haas - please don't come back, it is a waste of money. Martin - we said NO - get over it.
Hooper in Belfast wrote (105 days ago):
Unfortunately for you Lorna that 'stumbling block' is not only Nationalism's chosen representative but in a recent poll was also voted as the most popuñar politician in the Stormont Assembly.
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