Published Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Dr Richard Haass consulted with a wide range of people and groups. (© Presseye)
Talks chaired by Richard Haass on finding a consensus on the three contentious issues of flags, parades and the past, broke up without agreement at the end of last year.
Since then the DUP, Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and the Alliance parties have been at odds with each other as to how to proceed over his final proposals.
On Tuesday, the parties held further talks at Stormont in a bid to reach agreement. It's the second time the parties have met since Dr Haass returned to America.
It's believed that during the two-hour long discussions, the main areas of contention were discussed in detail and the parties agreed to continue the work.
SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell made a positive response to the day's talks.
He said: "I can see a deal being done, but I am not prepared to put a time on it because I do not want to put pressure on anybody.
"I am quite happy for people to come to this because in all of these things, it takes time.
"And we are going to take whatever time is needed, but we are not going to do, at the same time, is mess around and kick this into the long grass.
"We are going to deal with it now."
Next Tuesday, the parties are to meet again and it is expected they will specifically discuss the issue of parades and protests.
There has been speculation over the Irish and British governments getting involved in order to help broker an agreement.
However, UTV political editor, Ken Reid said he believes both are reluctant to enter the fray.
He added: "There is an effort going on to get an agreement.
"But there is still a reluctance for both the governments to get involved.
"Both the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamonn Gilmore have offered to play a role.
"But they feel there has to be a solution between the five parties and that's a view which is shared by the Obama administration in America."
© UTV News