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Haass to chair North talks

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-->The former United States special envoy to Northern Ireland, Richard Haass, is returning to the North to chair all-party talks aimed at resolving controversies surrounding flags, parades and other issues from the past that continue to cause division and were not covered by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

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In a joint statement, the North’s First and Deputy First Ministers said Dr. Haass was the agreed choice as chairman among the five parties represented in the power-sharing Stormont Executive.

"We are deeply grateful that an international figure of Dr. Haass's standing has agreed to facilitate these important discussions which we hope will provide long-term and sustainable solutions that are in the best interests of the community," Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness said.

Haass has been president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July, 2003. He succeeded George Mitchell as the U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland and was in turn succeeded by Mitchell Reiss.