I'd swap honour for peace deal – Haass
A former US diplomat honoured with an international peace award for his ill-fated efforts to secure political agreement in Northern Ireland has said he would willingly give it up in exchange for the deal he strived for.
Dr Richard Haass, who last year chaired a marathon talks process which ultimately failed to deliver consensus on outstanding peace process disputes, won the Tipperary Peace Award in acknowledgement of his work.
He used his acceptance speech last night to urge politicians in Northern Ireland to show leadership and finish the job.
He again stressed the dangers of complacency, warning that the security situation could deteriorate if issues were left unresolved.
The Haass negotiations on long-standing problems over flags, parades and the legacy of the past broke up on New Year's Eve without an accord.
Dr Haass said it was "ironic" he had been honoured with an award, whose previous recipients include Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton, because "mediators are rarely if ever decisive in the search for peace".