HAASS TALKS BEGIN IN BELFAST ON FLAGS, PARADES AND THE PAST

Former US Envoy Richard Haass arrives in Belfast on Tuesday morning to start interparty talks

Former US Envoy Richard Haass arrives in Belfast on Tuesday morning to start interparty talks

BELFAST’S most bombed hotel will be the hub for talks hosted by US diplomat Richard Haass.

He flies into Belfast on Tuesday morning to chair inter-party talks.

Dr Haass has been parachuted in by the First and deputy first minister in a bid to resolve issue over parades, flags, emblems and the past.

It is a signal of the failure of local politicians that the US diplomat has been drafted in to resolve the thorny issues.

The five Stormont executive parties will be represented at the talks.

He will also try to meet church leaders, community groups and other smaller parties to contribute ideas to the talks.

Last December, Northern Ireland exploded into violence when Belfast City Council voted to only fly the Union flag on designated days.

It has led to street protests and violent confrontations between the police and angry loyalists.

Dr Haas brings with him Harvard professor Meghan O’Sullivan who served as a senior US diplomat in Iraq, and Charles Landow, an official at Dr Haass’s New York think tank.

The team will be based at Belfast’s Europa hotel and the talks are expected to finish by the end of the year.

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