Talks resolution is ‘doable’ - Haass

Published Monday, 09 December 2013
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US diplomat Richard Haass has returned to Northern Ireland to continue talks on resolving contentious issues.

Dr Haass is chairing all-party discussions on parades, flags and dealing with the past.

He arrived back in Belfast on Monday to start two weeks of intense negotiations aimed at reaching a resolution ahead of his end-of-year deadline.

"Our goal has been and our goal remains to reach a meaningful agreement before Christmas," he told a news conference in the city.

"We continue to believe that with full commitment from all five parties in the Executive here, this goal remains doable."

Last week, Dr Haass raised the idea of a new Northern Ireland flag, asking what a process to design and validate it would look like and what role it could play in civic life.

The suggestion was dismissed by some unionists who said they stand behind the Union flag.

Meanwhile business leaders have urged political leaders to "grasp the opportunity of the talks process" to help build confidence as the economic recovery takes hold in 2014.

The CBI said: "The next two weeks provide a window of opportunity within which the entire business community, and we believe the vast majority of the wider community, wishes to encourage our politicians to use constructively and wisely.

"There is a high expectation within the business community that these talks can and indeed must deliver solutions within this timeframe."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Jos in Belfast wrote (128 days ago):
Impossible job it should be no flags or fly the two flags to represent both traditions.
Dianne Daly in NEWCASTLE wrote (131 days ago):
I agree with Dr Haass that a new flag for Northern Ireland would be a good thing. Having lived in South Africa during and after the Apartheid era, the only way for South Africa, who were in a very similar situation as we are here, to succeed and move forward was to have a Truth Commission and then to introduce a new flag which represented all the peoples views and beliefs. By doing this it allowed them to deal and let go of the past and look forward to a shared future for everyone.
Dude in Ards wrote (131 days ago):
A lot if talk, be interesting to see what actually happens, actions without words mean nothing, and this country hasnt given a young man like me the impression that anythings gonna change until the old prudes die out or start actually acting for a better future for Northern Ireland and stop argueing about the past
pip in belfast wrote (131 days ago):
stay in america you muppet ! nothing to see here go about your business move along there nothings ever going to change here to much hatred to get on with (and thats just politicians)
Mr Nationalist in Newcastle wrote (131 days ago):
Is it a mad idea that the Queen be involved in these talks? A lot of what happens here is carried out in her name. Maybe some sort of statement towards calm, maybe a statement to condemn those who use her flag as a mask or weapon? Does the Queen think it is a human right for people to walk 'her highway?' I think that the Queen has a responsibility here to take people off the streets and to explain that her flag does not need to fly everywhere possible every day!
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