UUP rejects Haass plan as 'not viable'

UUP rejects Haass plan as 'not viable'

The Ulster Unionist Party has rejected Dr Haass' proposals on Northern Ireland's contentious issues as "not viable and therefore unacceptable".

It follows a meeting of the UUP's 100-strong executive on Monday night to decide whether or not to back the proposals on flags, parades and dealing with the past which were put forward by the US talks team of Dr Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan.Northern Ireland's five main political parties failed to reach an agreement on the plans following marathon discussions on New Year's Eve.A statement from the UUP said: "The Ulster Unionist Party seeks a positive resolution to the issues of parades, flags and dealing with the past."Consequently, this Executive believes the Haass report is not viable and therefore unacceptable.The Executive further calls on First Minister and deputy First Minister to sort out the mess resulting from the process they initiated.Ulster Unionist Party"The Ulster Unionist Party will examine any measures that are brought forward by First Minister and deputy First Minister and report again to the Executive at its next scheduled meeting in February."Earlier, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin had claimed elements within "extreme loyalism" are setting the unionist agenda on Haass.Mr McGuinness, whose party was the first to support Dr Haass' draft, said leadership now needs to be shown after expressing his concerns that "rejectionist elements" of the Orange Order and "extreme loyalism" are setting the agenda on the process.He said: "Richard Haass has delivered his final text. This is the time we need political leadership."That means standing with the vast majority who want to see progress not with the rejectionist elements within the Orange Order who wish to see this process fail."It is clear that there are elements of the Orange Order and extreme loyalism who do not want to see progress, they do not want to see agreement and they are hostile to the idea of peace building and a shared future. Adopting a negotiating strategy which is driven by these negative elements is a huge mistake."A spokesperson for the Orange Order said it had engaged fully with the process and is hopeful that a resolution can still be found on contentious issues.He continued: "Rather than a shabby attempt to deflect attention away from his own murky past, Mr McGuinness would be better served to come forward and tell the truth, for the sake of all innocent victims and the justice they deserve, regarding the heinous crimes inflicted by republicans."Dr Haass has now published a two-page factsheet outlining his main proposals.He concludes that his draft agreement: "Would leave the people of NI considerably better off than they are today by tackling the difficult issues that continue to divide society."Previously the DUP and Ulster Unionists have both indicated they had major difficulties with a number of proposals drawn up by the Haass team. Sinn Féin and the SDLP have endorsed the proposals, while the Alliance Party said it would support the proposal on the past.The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle will be meeting on 11 January..@mikenesbittniand @uuponlinecolleagues being interviewed by @sharon_utv after Party Executive meeting pic.twitter.com/5ANQ7EWcqL— Ulster Unionist (@uuponline) January 7, 2014


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