The Orange Order has said it hopes a new plan could resolve the current impasse over a controversial parade at a north Belfast flashpoint.
Its ‘Twaddell Initiative’ promises full and open dialogue with nationalist residents if Orangemen are allowed to complete the last leg of a parade past Ardoyne which they say they were blocked from completing in July.
“A few moments of tolerance on a quiet Saturday morning can move the situation forward and create a positive platform, both for the 2014 parades and the Haass talks,” the Order said in a statement.
The Order is applying to the Parades Commission to have the parade along the Crumlin Road at 9am on Saturday.
The statement added: “We are committed to full and open dialogue with Ardoyne residents for the 2014 parades that can commence immediately after our return to Ligoniel Orange Hall.”
DUP leader Peter Robinson described the Orange Order proposal as a genuine attempt to reach consensus.
He said: “The onus is now upon nationalism to show leadership and to respond positively to this genuine attempt to reach accommodation. They must face down the elements in their community who wish to drag Northern Ireland back.”
Meanwhile, thousands of loyalists paraded along the Shankill Road on Saturday in a spectacle to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the UVF in west Belfast.
UUP minister Danny Kennedy said: “It was very well organised and very well presented and historically accurate.”
Mr Robinson added: “The act of sharing a main arterial route for a few minutes would boost community relations in north Belfast significantly and generate a positive atmosphere for the Haass process.”
Northern Ireland has been dogged by sporadic street violence since last December.
The Orange statement added: “We believe the time is right to launch this initiative to resolve the present impasse and address the unique situation that the Parades Commission determination created at Woodvale.
“We are also conscious that the issue of parades, flags and the past are to be the subject of intensive and ongoing political discussion. We wish to contribute to a positive atmosphere for the Haass talks and assist them to reach a successful conclusion.”
Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said he hoped the Twaddell Initiative would be greeted in the spirit in which it was offered.
“The guarantee that dialogue for 2014 will follow immediately should residents endorse the resolution of this 2013 impasse is interesting and challenges the traditional narrative of unionist intransigence,” he said.
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said he warmly welcomed the offer by the Orange Order. “It is a positive and imaginative move, designed to move things forward for the benefit of all,” he said.
“The proposal takes into account the views put forward by nationalists and republicans many times concerning parades on the Crumlin Road.”
Ulster Unionist Mark Cosgrove, who is a member of the Belfast Parades Forum, said he believed the Twaddell Inititiative would be widely welcomed.
But Joe Marley, a spokesman for the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA), said preconditions could not be put on talks.
“CARA believes the only way to resolve these issues is direct engagement and dialogue between local residents and local lodges. These talks should focus on the future and have no preconditions.
“The Ardoyne community has shown great restraint in the face of extreme provocation and we urge the Parades Commission to stand by the original determination and not capitulate to loyalist violence or the threat of violence, intimidation and law breaking.”