Leaders to meet US diplomat Richard Haass

Posted By: September 11, 2013

BBC.NI. Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers are due to have talks with US
diplomat Richard Haass later, during their visit to New York.
It comes in advance of Dr Haass's trip to Northern Ireland next week.
He is due to chair all-party talks set up to deal with some of the most divisive
issues confronting Northern Ireland.
They will consider the controversial issues of flags, parading and how to deal with
the past.
Former US senator George Mitchell, who chaired the Northern Ireland peace talks that
led to the Good Friday Agreement, was one of a number of guests at an American
Ireland event in New York on Tuesday evening, attended by Peter Robinson and Martin
Senator Mitchell said he had been talking to Richard Haass about the talks.
He praised Dr Haass as "a very able man" who would make every effort to resolve the
issues, but warned that once one difficulty is solved, others come along.
The first and deputy first ministers are due to meet Dr Haass at his New York think
tank, the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ahead of that meeting, Mr Robinson said: "Richard Haass can't resolve our problems
for us. He can facilitate, he can push and he can nudge. He can encourage but at the
end of the day, it will be the parties in Northern Ireland who have to reach these
Martin McGuinness said: "There are people out there who are extreme loyalits and
extreme so-called republicans who are still dedicated to destroying all of the good
work of the past 15 years and who wish to plunge us back to the past.
"The Haass talks provide us with the opportunity to cut the ground from under those
The two leaders are in America to encourage investment in Northern Ireland.
On Tuesday, Mr Robinson tweeted: "Good meetings this afternoon with Duncan
Niederauer, chief executive of New York Stock Exchange and with New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg."
Mr McGuinness also used his Twitter account to talk about his "great friend, Mayor
of New York Michael Bloomberg".
The two ministers also met with existing investors, Citi and NYSE Euronext.
Mr Robinson said: "Since first establishing its centre of excellence in Belfast in
2004, Citi has made its fifth reinvestment in Belfast, with plans to employ up to
1,500 people in Belfast's Titantic Quarter by 2015."
Mr McGuinness said: "The NYSE Euronext has shown their commitment to the development
of our digital economy by supporting the first Digital DNA conference in Belfast on
13 September.
"The conference is an excellent opportunity for world-leading digital companies to
share skills and best practice."
On Thursday, the first and deputy first ministers will visit the New York Yacht Club
for the annual Wall Street 50 awards.
The event recognizes the accomplishments of Irish-American and Irish-born leaders of
the financial industry.