Northern Ireland parties 'must find way forward': Villiers

Theresa Villers Theresa Villiers urged the Northern Ireland parties to move forward on the issues

The secretary of state has said Northern Ireland politicians must waste no time in finding a way forward on the three key issues in the Haass talks.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Theresa Villiers said the outcome to the talks chaired by the former US diplomat Richard Haass was disappointing.

However, she said it should not be viewed as the end of the road.

Ms Villiers said the momentum must be maintained.

Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party First Minister Peter Robinson has supported setting up a cross-party working group at Stormont to try to resolve outstanding disagreements over flags, parades and the past.

However, his partner in government, Sinn Féin's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, has argued that any working group should simply implement Dr Haass's final proposals as they stood at the end of the marathon talks.

The Stormont parties invited Dr Haass to help broker agreement back in July, after disputes over flag flying and contentious parades led to serious disorder on the streets.

The talks began in earnest in September and culminated in a number of late night and overnight sessions during the Christmas and new year period.

So far two nationalist parties, Sinn Féin and the SDLP, have indicated their willingness to accept Dr Haass's proposals, while the Ulster Unionist Party has described the final Haass document as unacceptable.

The remaining two Stormont parties, the DUP and Alliance, have given the proposals a mixed response, indicating they support some elements, but oppose others.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Northern Ireland stories



  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Lotus 97T driven by Elio de AngelisBeen and Gone

    A champion F1 designer and other notable losses

  • A poster of Boris Nemtsov at a rally in St Petersburg, Russia, 1 MarchWho killed Nemtsov?

    Theories abound over murder that shocked Moscow

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.