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Agreement in Haass talks 'is possible' - Adams

Richard Haass left Belfast on Tuesday, but says the effort involved in coming back this weekend is justified.

Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

US DIPLOMAT RICHARD Haass will return to Northern Ireland tomorrow after deciding that a cross-party deal on parades, flags and the past can be sealed by midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Haass tweeted last night that he would return with vice-chair of the talks Meghan O’Sullivan, saying that the “stakes justify the effort”.

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Haass and O’Sullivan had returned to America on Christmas Eve, after failing to find consensus on the controversial issues. Haass said that he would return this weekend if he felt that a deal was still possible.

He is expected to hand over draft proposals, the fourth set he has produced to representatives of the the North’s five major parties. If the talks fail, it could be some time before Haass and O’Sullivan are back in Belfast.

Both have indicated that work commitments will hamper their ability to come back in the new year.

Agreement

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams feels that a deal can be struck by the Tuesday deadline.

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“Many people will be disappointed that the all-party talks broke up without agreement for Christmas. Sinn Féin shares that disappointment.

“However, it is our view that progress was made and that agreement is possible when the talks recommence.

“As the New Year approaches there is a duty and responsibility on all the parties to these negotiations, despite the challenges, to find a way forward.”

Read: Haass talks with NI parties fail to reach consensus, but Gilmore says agreement is essential

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