Flanagan Meets With US Senator Ahead Of N.I. Talks

Ireland's Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan has met with Senator Gary Hart this morning ahead of new talks in Northern Ireland to resolve outstanding issues such as the budget, welfare reform, flags, parades and dealing with the past.

The last round of talks ended in deadlock last Christmas time, after unionist parties failed to agree on policies accepted by nationalist parties and US envoys Richard Haas and Meghan O'Sullivan.

This morning's meeting was the first between the two since Senator Hart was appointed as US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Personal Representative in Northern Ireland, following meetings in Dublin and Washington DC in August and October.

Minister Flanagan said: "I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Senator Hart this morning. I am confident that he will play an important role in this Talks process. Progress in these Talks requires many challenging compromises to be made by all parties in the Northern Ireland Executive.

"Senator Hart is a man of great experience and ability and I am confident that along with the British and Irish Governments, he will play a very constructive role in helping to resolve the current political impasse and build an enduring peace and a reconciled society.

"I am grateful to Senator Hart, Secretary of State Kerry and Vice-President Biden for their enduring and tangible commitment to Ireland and to the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

"I look forward to meeting all of the Northern Ireland Executive Parties today to discuss the important matter of implementing the matters outstanding from the Good Friday and the St. Andrews Agreements."


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