HAASS LAYS BLAME AT UNIONISTS' DOOR|
01/20/14 08:30 EST
Former US diplomat Richard Haass has said that his involvement in Northern Ireland is at an end and, indirectly, he seems to blame unionists for a lack of leadership.
In an interview from New York, Dr Haass said that he is "somewhat frustrated" that the negotiations he independently chaired with Professor Meghan O'Sullivan ended without agreement on New Year's Eve.
"On the other hand," he said, "it's still a living process and we'll see what happens with it."
"At the end of the day, leaders have to lead and we believe that this was a good agreement. Just to be clear, it was not my agreement or Meghan O' Sullivan's agreement."
The pair were brought in by the region's leaders Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in an attempt to resolve issues surrounding flags, parades and the past in Northern Ireland, but after seven draft proposals an agreement was not reached.
The former US envoy to Northern Ireland said: "It was the agreement that was essentially negotiated with and by the five parties that formed the Executive and I believe that the people of Northern Ireland as a whole would be better off."
"I also think that each party has more than enough in the agreement that they should be able to take the case to their respective constituents and make the case."
When asked if Unionists were to blame for there being no agreement, Dr Haass replied: "Two parties endorsed the agreement and three parties did not. Two of them are Unionist and one was Alliance."
"Again, I believe that all parties are in a position that there is more than enough in the agreement that they should be able to point to it and make the case exactly why it is worth their support."
"There's a lot in it for Unionists, I believe there's a lot in it for the members and supporters of Alliance, there's a lot in it for Nationalists and Republicans. Most important, there's a lot in it for Northern Ireland as a whole, as a society."