Published Thursday, 19 September 2013
Members of the Orange Order met Dr Richard Haass. (© Pacemaker)
It is the independent talks chair's third day in the region and so far he has met all five main political parties and other interested groups to hear about flags, parading and dealing with the past.
Following their meeting with Dr Haass, Deputy Grand Master Alastair Smyth said:"It was a very constructive meeting, Dr Haass was very much in listening mode.
"The substance of our time with him was focused on the parading issues which is obviously important to our whole existence and a lot of issues around that were explored.
"We plan to meet with Dr Haass again and discuss the other major issues in terms of the flags and the past."
Our position is that the Parades Commission is a quango, it's unaccountable, it's unfair.
Alastair Smyth, Order Deputy Grand Master
Rev Smyth said the Order viewed the process as "ground zero" in terms of proposals made in the past and reiterated calls for the Parades Commission to be abolished.
He added: "In regard to compromise we are exploring a way forward that will be fair and accountable and transparent.
"Its whole process is far from transparent and very often even in those areas where it would claim success, there is left behind a reservoir or resentment.
"So as far as the Parades Commission is concerned, it must absolutely go."
In an early morning engagement Dr Haass also met representatives of the business community.
Following their joint meeting with the diplomat, Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster and Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association issued a joint statement.
They welcomed the opportunity to meet Dr Haass and his vice chair Meghan O'Sullivan.
They said: "We asked him to continue to back us to help boost confidence and let people know that Northern Ireland is very much open for business.
"Resolving issues around the past, parades, flags and identity are essential if we are to move our economy forward."
The former US special envoy has been tasked with reaching a consensus on the contentious issues of parades, flags and the past.
On Wednesday Dr Haass met with the DUP and UUP as well as various other groups after meeting with Sinn Féin and SDLP delegations on Tuesday.
After his meeting, First Minister Peter Robinson played down the chances of Dr Haass of reaching agreement with all concerned by the December deadline.
However, he did say progress could be made.
On Tuesday, in a public address, Haass said incredible progress had been made in Northern Ireland, but that the summer's violence served as a reminder that peace "can't be taken from granted".
© UTV News