IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: HAASS TALKS CRITICAL STAGE

Meghan O'Sullivan and Richard Haass resume today for more talks over parades, past and flags

Meghan O’Sullivan and Richard Haass resume today for more talks over parades, past and flags

THE HAASS talks have now entered its most crucial stage of the past month.

This evening, Monday, December 30, is now the deadline for parties to reach agreement on the past, flags and parades or the process is doomed to failure.

Talks between the five main parties in the Stormont Executive and former Dr Richard Haass have now resumed in a last ditched bid to resolve three thorny issues.

The UUP say is it “80-90” per cent over the line.

However, political observers say that before today’s talks resumed, the parties were only “50 per cent” of the way to agreement.

The main stumbling block is the Union flag, as Belfast Daily first revealed over three weeks ago.

The parties were last night given the sixth, and possibly, the last draft of proposals to consider before today’s talks began.

Talks had been due to start at 6 am but were put back four hours to allow the parties further time to consider the proposals drafted by the former US diplomat and his team of advisors.

Dr Haass is today involved in the talks process with all the parties.

Sinn Fein negotiator Gerry Kelly MLA said on Monday: “We are┬áhopeful we can do a deal today.

“These issues will not go away so now is the time to deal with them.”

The DUP didn’t take part in yesterday’s talks as it does not negotiate on a Sunday, said the party.

 

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