first_imgUS DIPLOMAT RICHARD Haass will return to Northern Ireland today after deciding that a cross-party deal on parades, flags and the past can be sealed by midnight on New Year’s Eve.He took to Twitter in recent days to say that he would be returning to Belfast, last night adding that the Belfast talks “merited support”.TalksThe all-party talks are believed to start at 2.30pm today, with one to one discussions with Haass and O’Sullivan scheduled for Sunday.Haass and O’Sullivan left Northern Ireland on Christmas Eve after failing to reach an agreement. Haass had indicated that he would return this weekend if he felt that a deal was still possible.Today it is expected to hand over draft proposals, the fourth set he has produced to representatives of the the North’s five major parties.Yesterday, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams feels that a deal can be struck by the Tuesday deadline, while during the week Táinaiste Eamon Gilmore said an agreement on the issues was “essential”.Writing in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Haass said that “compromise is essential” adding “what matters is whether Northern Ireland would be better off with this agreement. We believe the answer to that question is yes — a resounding yes”.Read: Haass talks with NI parties expected to last well into night>last_img