Northern Ireland

Haass proposals: Cameron says governments will not impose a solution

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Media captionDavid Cameron says there is "absolutely no question of an imposed solution" over talks in Northern Ireland

The prime minister has told the Commons there is no question of the governments imposing a solution on the NI parties over flags, parades and the past.

David Cameron was answering questions from the DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

Mr Dodds described comments by the Irish Foreign Minister, Eamon Gilmore, that any intervention over the Haass proposals would be made jointly by both governments as "deeply unhelpful".

Talks on resolving the issues broke up without a deal on New Year's Eve.

They were chaired by US diplomat Dr Richard Haass and Harvard Prof Meghan O'Sullivan.

Two of Northern Ireland's five main parties, Sinn Féin and the SDLP, endorsed the proposals, but the DUP, UUP and Alliance have, so far, rejected elements of the Haass blueprint.

The parties held another round of discussions on the proposals on Tuesday.

Mr Dodds told the Commons that the "vast majority of issues" within the Haass talks were internal issues within Northern Ireland and therefore there was "absolutely no role" for the Irish government.

"There can be absolutely no suggestion of any kind of imposed solution to the Haass talks. They are issues which need to be solved between the five parties engaged in talks as recently as yesterday when the leaders met," he said in a statement.

"The most helpful thing that the Irish government could do about the past is to be more forthcoming about the role of the state authorities there in collusion with the Provisional IRA."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Meghan O'Sullivan and Richard Haass (both centre) chaired a series of round-table talks with Northern Ireland's five main political parties

On Sunday, Mr Gilmore told the BBC's Sunday Politics programme that if necessary, there would be joint intervention by the Irish and British governments to get the parties to agree a way forward on the Haass proposals.

He told the programme there had to be progress on the issues.

In response, the Northern Ireland Office issued a statement saying there could be "no question of imposing solutions from outside".

An NIO spokeswoman said: "The UK government will continue to encourage the NI political parties to find an agreed way forward on the issues considered in the Haass process.

Mr Gilmore, who is also Ireland's deputy prime minister (tánaiste), said there was an "urgency" about getting the issues resolved.

"I think if there is an intervention, I think it will be an intervention by both governments together.

"We are agreed that this is something that both governments will work together on."

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