Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

PM: No imposed deal over Haass

Talks led by Dr Richard Haass broke down on New Year's Eve

The British and Irish governments will not impose any solution on Northern Ireland's political parties on a way forward for the Haass peace talks but they can help to ease progress, David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister said US diplomat Dr Richard Haass's proposals for a deal on contentious parades, flags and dealing with a troubled past provided "the architecture" for a future solution and encouraged the parties to come together to work on one.

Talks on the proposals between Northern Ireland's five parties broke down on New Year's Eve.

Mr Cameron was responding to the DUP's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds who said Irish foreign minster Eamon Gilmore's suggestion that the two governments could intervene was "deeply unhelpful".

During Prime Minister's questions, Mr Dodds said : "Do you accept that the remarks by the Irish foreign minister about the Haass talks and the possibility of some kind of intervention by his government is deeply unhelpful?

"The vast majority of the issues at stake in the Haass talks are internal to Northern Ireland, they are matters for the parties in Northern Ireland to engage and agree upon and there can be no question of an imposed solution.

"The most helpful thing that the Irish government can do about the past is to be more forthcoming about the role of the state authorities in collusion with the IRA."

Mr Cameron replied: "Let me reassure you, there is absolutely no question of an imposed solution. The proposal for the Haass discussions was the proposal of the Northern Ireland parties themselves.

"I obviously wish this process well, I think Haass did a good job in providing the architecture of a future solution on parades and on flags and on the past. I hope the parties can come together and continue the work.

"The Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers will do what she can to facilitate that work. I think it is important to go on discussing this with the government of the Republic of Ireland. They have taken steps themselves to come to terms with some of the things that happened in their past and I think if the parties work together and if the British and Irish governments are there to help I hope we can make some progress."

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