Leaders to hold second Haass meeting

Leaders to hold second Haass meeting

Northern Ireland's political leaders are expected to hold a second meeting later to discuss the proposals put forward by Dr Richard Haass.

The US team of Dr Haass and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan were brought in last September by the Executive parties to attempt to resolve the contentious issues of flags, parades and the past, but after seven draft proposals an agreement was not reached by the end-of-year deadline.Last week the leaders of the DUP, Sinn Féin, UUP, SDLP and Alliance met at Stormont to discuss the way forward on the plans. The talks will resume on Tuesday afternoon.It comes in the wake of comments made by deputy First Minister linking the UVF, PUP and Orange Order in Belfast, an analysis he claims unionists agree with.First Minister Peter Robinson has rejected the claims as "irrational and unhelpful" and accused the Sinn Féin representative of acting as a 'dictator' on the Haass process.Over the weekend, the Republic of Ireland's Foreign Minister, Eamon Gilmore, suggested that the Irish and British governments could jointly intervene on Haass.However a statement from the Northern Ireland Office rejected the idea.It said: "The UK government will continue to encourage the NI political parties to find an agreed way forward on the issues considered in the Haass process. The Irish government has indicated that it too wants to support efforts to secure cross party agreement."This is a process initiated by the NI political parties and there can be no question of imposing a set of solutions from outside which doesn't have the backing of NI's political leadership."No great expectation of progress ahead of the meeting of party leaders this afternoon to discuss @RichardHaass document. #stormont— Ken Reid (@KenReid_utv) January 21, 2014


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