Belfast Telegraph

Richard Haass talks: US diplomat hopeful of agreement in place by Christmas

Richard Haass has said he hopes to reach a "meaningful agreement" before Christmas in resolving Northern Ireland's disputes over parading, flags and the Troubles.

Addressing a news conference in Belfast today, Dr Haass - who is leading the inter-party negotiations - said there was a "sense of urgency".

He arrived back in Northern Ireland this week to begin intensive negotiations, as part of a two-week drive involving the Executive parties.

The talks are focused on the unfinished business of the peace process – specifically the issues of flags, parades and the past.

"What we expect is people to come to these meetings prepared to address these meetings in detail," he said today.

"I want to leave you with a sense of urgency. Our goal has been, and our goal remains, to reach a meaningful agreement before Christmas."

Dr Haass said that with the commitment from the five main parties at Stormont, the goal "remains do-able".

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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