10. What assessment she has made of progress in the Haass talks. (901928)
All parties have acknowledged that there are elements of the Haass proposals that they can support. It is important that they continue their negotiations to try to resolve their differences, and the UK Government will continue to support their efforts to do that.
I thank the Secretary of State for her reply; I am sure that she was expecting that question. Will she tell us what discussions on these issues she has had with the Government of the Republic of Ireland, ahead of any possible recommencement of the talks?
I have had regular discussions with Eamon Gilmore on this matter, including a number of meetings in Northern Ireland and in Dublin. We are keen to work together to encourage the finding of a way forward, and to encourage the political parties in Northern Ireland to reconcile their differences and get an agreement over the line.
11. I welcome the Secretary of State’s positive comments on the Haass process. Does she agree that much has been achieved and that we should now implement as much of that as possible by creating the necessary legislation and resolving the remaining differences? (901929)
I agree that considerable progress has been achieved. These issues are incredibly divisive, and the fact that all five political parties have found a degree of common ground is very welcome. I also agree that we should keep up the momentum and seize this opportunity to get an agreement over the line and to reconcile the differences that still exist among the five parties.