Posted By: July 18, 2013

Problems to be dealt with through talking says US

John Manley. Irish News ( Belfast). Thursday, July 18,
The US diplomat tasked with finding agreement on some of the north’s
most contentious issues has insisted the solution lies in politics.
Richard haass, a former US envoy to Northern Ireland, arrived in Belfast
yesterday for a series of meetings with the first and deputy first ministers and
the leaders of the five main parties.
During his brief visit Dr haass aims to
agree terms of reference for an all-party group on parades, flags and the past
which will begin its work in September.
The group aims to deliver a report
before the end of the year.
Dr haass will be assisted in his role by former
US government adviser Dr Megan O’Sullivan and international researcher Charles
Landow. he stressed the role of dialogue and healthy debate in resolving
outstanding contentious issues.
“This has got to be done politically and
within the parameters of legitimate political discourse,” he
“Disagreements are fine, disagreements are to be expected, but again
disagreements are to be dealt with verbally and done within a legitimate and
accepted political process.”
Dr haass acknowledged his task was challenging
but said he was optimistic about meeting the Christmas deadline.
“We have got
an ambitious mandate… we will do everything possible and I am confident that
we can meet that mandate.”
earlier in the day the Orange Order issued a
statement saying it would “willingly and actively participate” with Dr haass’s
all-party group.
The US diplomat described the statement as “very good news