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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 20:15 GMT
NI envoy discusses developments
Richard Haass (right) will meet the chief constable
Richard Haass (right) will meet the chief constable
President Bush's special envoy to Northern Ireland is holding a number of high level meetings to discuss the political process.

Richard Haass has been meeting the Chief Constable Hugh Orde and the Secretary of State Paul Murphy at the beginning of a hectic round of engagements.

He denied reports that he is leaving his post to take up a major role linked to the Iraqi crisis.

It is the first time the ambassador has visited Northern Ireland since the political institutions were suspended on 14 October following the row over allegations of IRA activity, including spying in the Northern Ireland Office.
Richard Haass: Meeting NI parties
Richard Haass: Meeting NI parties

Round table talks involving the British and Irish Governments and Northern Ireland's political parties are set to take place at Stormont on Thursday.

Mr Haass held talks with Downing Street officials in London on Tuesday before travelling to Belfast where he will meet some of the political parties.

He is meeting a senior delegation from the Ulster Unionist Party, including Sir Reg Empey, Michael McGimpsey, Lady Sylvia Hermon and Jeffrey Donaldson.

Party leader David Trimble is in the United States.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr McGimpsey said: "Mr Haass is no stranger to Northern Ireland and is well aware of where the fault lies.

"We had a robust, inclusive process that was progressing and republicans have brought it to its knees."

He said the only remedy was to exclude Sinn Fein and then lift suspension.

Mr Haass will later travel to Dublin for meetings with Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen and Premier Bertie Ahern.

Last month, the special envoy said the IRA and Northern Ireland's other paramilitary groups "must go out of business".

Mr Haass said he felt the suspension of devolution, opposed by Sinn Fein and the nationalist SDLP, was the best of a number of bad options.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's political correspondent Gareth Gordon:
"Rumours persist that Richard Haass is to move on from his Northern Ireland duties"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

15 Oct 02 | N Ireland
15 Oct 02 | N Ireland
26 Sep 02 | N Ireland
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