Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness today said that he is concerned that the unionist parties are having their agenda on Haass set by negative elements in the Orange Order.
Mr McGuinness said:
“The UUP executive is meeting tonight to discuss the Haass proposals. Mike Nesbitt has yet to make it clear that he will recommend accepting the document as the basis for moving forward. This is a mistake.
“As political leaders we have a responsibility to all citizens to deliver. I have a concern that the agenda for both unionist parties is being set not by this requirement but by the needs and demands of the Orange Order.
“It is clear that there are elements of the Orange Order and extreme loyalism who do not want to see progress, they do not want to see agreement and they are hostile to the idea of peace building and a shared future. Adopting a negotiating strategy which is driven by these negative elements is a huge mistake.
“Richard Haass has delivered his final text. This is the time we need political leadership. That means standing with the vast majority who want to see progress not with the rejectionist elements within the Orange Order who wish to see this process fail.
“In recent days I have heard talk about the establishment of a working group on the Haass proposals. The negotiation has ended. The only purpose in establishing an all-party working group is to ensure the implementation of the document as it stands not to reopen negotiations on its contents.”