UK
31/12/2013 07:32 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT

Northern Ireland Peace Talks End In Deadlock

PETER MUHLY via Getty Images
Former US diplomat Richard Haass speaks to the media during a press conference at the Stormont hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland on December 31, 2013. Haass said no agreement had been reached during talks with Northern Ireland's five main policital parties, aimed at solving some of Northern Ireland's most contentious issues on flags, parades and the past. AFP PHOTO / PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Marathon all-night negotiations to resolve outstanding peace process issues in Northern Ireland have failed to produce an agreement.

Talks chairman Dr Richard Haass, a former US diplomat, said he had not managed to secure consensus on a final set of proposals to deal with flags, disputed parades and the legacy of the Troubles before his end-of-year deadline.

Dr Haass said a working group made up of representatives of the five parties in Stormont's power-sharing executive would now be set up to try and find another way to build on "significant progress" that had been achieved.

Negotiators from Sinn Fein, the largest nationalist party in the Executive, said they were prepared to recommend the proposals to its ruling executive, but unionists would not sign up to the document tonight.

"Yes it would have been nice to come out here tonight and say we have got all five parties completely signed on to the text, we are not there," Dr Haass said.

Dr Haass, who was commissioned by Democratic Unionist First Minister Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to chair the six-month process, said he believed there was a prospect that all the parties would either endorse all, or significant parts of his document in the future.

The DUP and Ulster Unionists said they would consult within their parties before making a final judgment on the proposals but both indicated they had major difficulties with elements of the text.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) said it would also be conducting a consultation, but party leader Alasdair McDonnell said he would be recommending a general endorsement of the proposals.

Dr Haass urged Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness to make the details of the final document public so people could make up their own minds.

He denied the process had been a failure.

"Success should not be measured by what we report to you tonight or what the party leaders report tonight - I would ask you to judge the success in six months, in a year, 18 months, in two years, that would give a much more realistic definition or yardstick of what constitutes success," he said.

"What I believe what we have done is laid down solid enough foundations stones."