Northern Ireland

Richard Haass says majority in Northern Ireland want compromise

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Media captionDr Richard Haass said there has been an 'awful lot of progress' in the inter-party talks

Former US envoy Dr Richard Haass has said that he thinks the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland are ready for compromise.

Dr Haass is in Belfast to continue his inter-party talks dealing with parades, flags and the past.

"There has been an awful lot of progress, more progress to be made," he said.

Mr Haass held talks with a number of Stormont parties not represented in the executive.

He met Steven Agnew of the Green Party, and Basil McCrea and John McAllister of NI21, and had discussions with David McNarry of UKIP.

The diplomat also met Willie Hay, the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

He said he was still in "listening and learning mode" but explained how he saw the talks developing.

"There's a point at which one starts to pivot and that will happen on my next visit in November, December," he said.

"That's obviously when we are working with the leadership of the five parties to try to come to some common language."

Dr Haass will also visit Dublin and London during the week, before returning to Belfast on Friday for a round table discussion with the executive parties..

The talks were launched in September.

The US diplomat is being assisted by Harvard professor Meghan O'Sullivan, and they will report by the end of the year.

During their first week of talks in September they held more than 30 meetings with politicians and community groups, and received more than 100 submissions.

Dr Haass was chosen to chair the discussions by the first and deputy first ministers.

He is trying to make progress on areas that have proven too difficult for the Northern Ireland parties to resolve.

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