A lack of agreement after the Haass talks should not be seen as the end of the road for progress, the Secretary of State has said.
Describing yesterday’s outcome as “disappointing”, Theresa Villiers said the political parties should lose no time in getting together to build on the positives.
“The Haass process has seen much valuable work done involving the political parties along with groups and individuals from across the community.
“Significant progress has been made. It is important to build on this and continue to seek agreement in areas that continue to be a focus for tension and division within society,” she said.
Ms Villiers thanked the Haass and O’Sullivan team saying they had shown “immense resilience”.
She added: “The fact that a final agreement has yet to be reached in no way reflects their efforts or their commitment.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Although it is disappointing the parties have not been able to reach full agreement at this stage, these talks have achieved much common ground, providing a basis for continuing discussions.”
Mr Cameron also thanked the Haass team, and added: “There is a shared commitment to making progress on these very difficult issues that continue to be a focus for tension and division across the community.”