Former US Envoy Richard Haass arrives in Belfast later

Former US Envoy Richard Haass arrives in Belfast later

A FORMER US envoy to Northern Ireland will be in Belfast later to chair talks aimed at resolving issues such as parading and flags.

Richard Haass hass been chosen by the Stormont Executive to lead all-party talks on flags, parades and the past.

The diplomat was US special envoy to NI during George Bush’s tenure as president.

It is hoped the talks can bring forward recommendations by the end of this year to resolve long-standing issues such as parades and protests, flags, symbols and emblems.

First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “We are deeply grateful that an international figure of Dr Haass’s standing has agreed to facilitate these important discussions which we hope will provide long-term and sustainable solutions that are in the best interests of the community.”

Politicians were recalled to Stormont on Tuesday to debate the recent trouble.

A motion put forward by the DUP which criticised the Parades Commission’s determination on the Twelfth of July was passed by 43 votes to 42.

A Sinn Fein amendment was lost by three votes.

DUP leader Mr Robinson told the special sitting: “I do not think that anybody who takes a ceremonial sword to the head of a police officer can honestly find anywhere more suitable to be than in prison.

“There is no excuse for anybody carrying out what was an attempt to murder or at least to seriously injure a police officer.”

Petrol bombs and masonry were thrown at police during disorder in east Belfast which started at around 10pm and ended at around 12.30am.

There were no reports of any injuries.

Sinn Féin representative Mr McGuinness tweeted: “Deplorable that violent loyalist extremists are again attacking the police and community in Belfast tonight.”

Disorder in north Belfast broke out following a white line protest in the Mount Vernon area.

Police were attacked with petrol bombs and a car was set alight.

A hijack attempt was made on a bus in the Crumlin Road area and youths placed items on North Queen Street and set them of fire, while petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown.

There was also disorder on the Woodvale Road and a police vehicle was petrol bombed earlier in the evening on the Whitewell Road.

At least one petrol bomb was thrown in the Blacks Road area of south Belfast and at least one paint bomb was thrown in the Kingsway area.

Outside of Belfast, a car and moped were set alight in Newtownabbey during disorder which started at 11.15pm and ended at around 1.40am.

Police were attacked with masonry and paint bombs and two petrol bombs were thrown at a police vehicle.

Opposing factions gathered in the Corcrain Road area of Portadown.

Police said: “A number of fireworks were let off by the crowd and a number of golf balls were thrown however there was no serious disorder.”


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