Published Monday, 23 December 2013
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The session got underway just after 9pm on Monday after twice being pushed back from 11am and 6pm, with negotiations now looking set to continue well into the night.
As he arrived at the Stormont Hotel in east Belfast to begin the talks, chairman Dr Haass told reporters: "It's going to be an interesting evening".
The latest version of US diplomat's blueprint on flags, parades and dealing with the past was sent to the parties earlier. The part on the past was distributed first, followed by the rest.
It is understood a deal on flags is set to prove elusive - however progress has been made on the issues of parades and how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.
UTV correspondent Tracey Magee said: "It appears Dr Haass has largely packed up the flags issue due to a lack of agreement.
"It is thought he has recommended a commission should look at the matter at a later date."
Meetings had been scheduled for Monday morning but it is understood the timetable was pushed back significantly, amid ongoing efforts to strike a deal before Christmas.
Dr Haass is hoping to reach an accommodation within that timeframe, but has said that if it doesn't happen he and co-chair Dr Meghan O'Sullivan will make a judgement call on whether it would be worth flying back to Northern Ireland on 27 December for another round of talks.
Speaking over the weekend, the former US Envoy said "no stone has been left unturned".
Earlier the parties held separate meetings as they awaited Dr Haass' fourth draft, with UUP leader Mike Nesbitt stressing that the approach must be realistic.
He said: "We are being realistic in accepting that we can't get an agreement on flags in the time frame. That is not to say that is a great outcome - it is acceptance of where we are."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Féin, tweeted that he would love to go home for Christmas but is "determined to do so with agreement".
Meanwhile the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson said he thinks a resolution is still possible.
The Lagan Valley MP said: "Well it is going to be difficult to do it today but if the fourth draft document comes out and people are satisfied then yes it is possible."
© UTV News