Former US Envoy Richard Haass holds second day of talks with unionists and RBP

Former US Envoy Richard Haass holds second day of talks with unionists and RBP

TALKS aimed at breaking the parading and flags impasse have entered a second day of behind-closed-doors discussiontalks.

US diplomat Richard Haass is meeting unionist politicians and other interested groups to hear their views on a way forward.

On Wednesday morning at the Stormont Hotel in east Belfast, Dr Haass’s delegation hosted a meeting with Royal Black Preceptory (RBP).

The loyal order delegaation presented the Haass team with a 15-point discussion paper largely dealing with the thorny issue of parading.

Those talks were described as “worthwhile and constructive”.

Dr Haass and his deputy Professor Meghan O’Sullivan later met the Ulster Unionist Party.

It said they want to ensure that the views of innocent victims and security force veterans are heard.

Following the talks, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said it was a useful meeting and said his party was looking for political consensus and the hope was to produce agreement before the end of the year.

Dr Haass then met the DUP who are demanding an end to what they call “cultural apartheid”.

A meeting with the Alliance Party is scheduled for the early evening.

They are expected to raise segregation in housing and education.

Dr Haass also wants to meet a broad church of people, including community groups and smaller parties to hear their views.

Dr Haass arrived on Tuesday and met the SDLP and Sinn Fein in his first round of party talks.

The SDLP delegation was led by party leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell who told Mr Haass that he should put forward his own proposals if the parties cannot find agreement by Christmas.

A Sinn Fein delegation led by deputy first minister Martin McGuinness told him the age-old problems could be resolved.

However, the party said that dealing with the past might prove the most difficult.



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