Friday 22 September 2017

Obama regrets peace talks failure

Enda Kenny and Barack Obama in Washington
Enda Kenny and Barack Obama in Washington
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

PRESIDENT Obama said he was "disappointed" that the recent round of Northern Ireland peace talks on flags, parades and the past had failed to reach an agreement and he urged the main parties to continue to try to find a solution to the impasse.

Speaking in the Oval Office after a meeting with the Taoiseach, Mr Obama said: "I was disappointed, the US government was disappointed that the all-party talks did not arrive at a final conclusion and agreement. But we're urging the parties to continue to work and negotiate."

Former US diplomat and US special envoy Dr Richard Haas last year chaired six months of talks, but the negotiations broke down in January.

The Taoiseach said he had conducted "very frank" discussions in Washington on Wednesday with both the North's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and expressed the hope that "a sense of urgency" would develop to resolve the deadlock.

This was Mr Kenny's fourth visit to the White House for St Patrick's Day and during the 45-minute meeting the two leaders also discussed progress in legislation reform for illegal immigrants, which could affect the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US.

Mr Kenny also urged the appointment of a new US ambassador to Ireland, given that it was now 15 months since Dan Rooney stepped down from the post. The Taoiseach said: "We hope it can be dealt with pretty soon."

Irish Independent

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