Chris Lyttle MLA said: “These cross party talks provides a unique opportunity for us to find a resolution to the issues of flags, parades and the past.
“However, we will only find agreement if there is meaningful engagement from all parties. We will not be successful if people come into these talks with ulterior motives or a singular objective such as the replacement of the Parades Commission. We must find agreement that resolves all three issues, as they are, to varying extents, all linked to each other.
“There must be a commitment from all parties to finding a genuine outcome from these talks. Any solution must be long term; we cannot continue to put temporary sticking plasters over such important issues.
“These talks will be difficult, but I believe we can achieve a positive outcome. For us to achieve this, there will have to be negotiation and an acceptance of other people’s points of view. All sides must remember that no matter how passionately they may feel about these issues there will be people in this community who feel equally passionately in the opposite direction.
“Agreement on these issues and the manner of their resolution is in the interests of everybody in our society. In particular, the disputes around flags and parades have the potential to significantly impact upon the economy. We are not going to grow our economy, and provide more jobs, if images of rioting on the streets of Northern Ireland are beamed around the world. That is why it is important that the voice of the local business community is heard as the cross party group engages with civic society.
“This is an opportunity that simply cannot be missed for elected representatives to work together to agree long term solutions in the best interest of everyone in this community.”