Published Friday, 01 November 2013
Dr Haass has been tasked with finding resolutions to long-standing disputes on flags, parades and dealing with the legacy of the past.
Since the process started in September, Dr Haass and his team have met with numerous groups and organisations and received over 400 submissions through his website.
Following talks with political parties and other interested groups on Friday, the diplomat said there was a "real chance of progress".
He has been on a number of fact-finding missions to the region, but has signalled an intent to begin negotiations in earnest when he returns to Belfast in two weeks.
Dr Haass said: "I continue to believe there is good chance, a real chance, of achieving meaningful progress."
"I think everyone understands the opportunity and the importance of realising progress."
He said the process would now focus in on face-to-face talks involving the five parties that make up Stormont's Executive.
He added: "We will increasingly be trying to uncover and expand areas of agreement in the three areas that we are looking at.
"So essentially, if you will, the talks will enter a new phase starting in two weeks when we return, and it will, if you will, become much more a negotiating phase rather than simply a consultative phase."
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