Speaking after separate comments from the First and Deputy First Ministers, indicating the creation of a five party working group, Naomi Long MP, Alliance lead negotiator in the Haass talks, said: “Alliance is keen to see a process to build on work done in the Haass talks. We do not want an open-ended process or one which seeks to reopen negotiation on all fronts, but must focus on refining detail and implementation of the agreed portions of the text produced by Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan and seeking to close the gaps on others.
“The public have no patience for endless process which masquerades as progress but delivers no tangible outcomes for them. Alliance had serious concerns about previous processes, such as the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Strategy working group which did just that and so we called time on that exercise. We will not allow any new working group to repeat the failings of that episode.
“We, therefore, want to see a clear structure set out for the group, with chairing, timeframes and work plan agreed by parties in advance, clearly identifying where agreement has been reached and needs implemented and where refinement is required prior to implementation.
“It would also make sense if those who were engaged in the Haass talks directly took this forward as they are best placed to pick up where we left off and maintain momentum of that process, without rehashing old arguments or allowing a rerun of the last six months.
“Urgent implementation of proposals on the past must be a clear priority, for the sake of victims and wider society. We must not allow disagreement on flags and parades to stand in the way of implementing the proposals on the past.
“We believe that the final text from the Haass talks provides a blueprint on legacy issues that can deliver truth and justice for victims, and reconciliation for our society, but we must see urgent action taken to turn these proposals into reality.
“We are ready to play a constructive role in delivering proposals which challenge sectarianism, progress a shared future for everyone and which are built on respect both for each other and for the rule of law. That is the public’s ambition for politics in 2014 and we are committed to meet it, not dilute it.”