Obama 'disappointed' over Haass talks

Obama 'disappointed' over Haass talks

American President Barack Obama has said he was "disappointed" the all-party talks chaired by former US diplomat Richard Haass failed to reach an agreement in Northern Ireland.

Mr Obama made the comments during a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Oval Office in the White House on Friday, ahead of the annual Saint Patrick's Day celebrations.He urged political parties in Northern Ireland to continue to work toward a consensus.President Obama said: "We both share an interest in seeing Northern Ireland continue to take the next steps that are necessary to finally bring an end to what so often has been a tragic history."I was disappointed and the US government was disappointed, that the all-party talks did not arrive at a final conclusion and agreement."He added: "But we're urging the parties to continue to work and negotiate."And I know that the good influence coming from Dublin will help to encourage that to move out of the past and get the kind of history that - or the kind of future that Northern Ireland so richly deserves."Dr Haass and his co-chair Professor Meghan O'Sullivan, an expert in international affairs, were tasked by the Stormont Executive to find an agreement on issues surrounding flags, parades and the past.The president's comments come after US Vice-President Joe Biden also urged politicians to make progress on those outstanding issues as he accepted a peace award from the American Ireland Fund in Washington on Thursday.Later on Friday, First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness met with Mr Biden in the White House.PHOTO: VP meets w/ First Minister Robinson & Dep First Minister McGuinness of N Ireland. @DUPleader @M_McGuinness_SF pic.twitter.com/a18kc4xLJH— Office of VP Biden (@VP) March 14, 2014

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