As the Belfast Telegraph reports, and followed up by the BBC. For the benefit of the more excitable commenters [and politicians! – Ed] among us, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, spelt out the political realité on the Haass proposals during PMQs in the Commons today [Added Permanent link].
Mr Nigel Dodds (Belfast North) (DUP): Does the Prime Minister accept that the remarks of the Irish Foreign Minister about the Haass talks and the possibility of some kind of intervention by his Government are deeply unhelpful, that the vast majority of the issues at stake in the Haass talks are internal to Northern Ireland and are matters for the parties in Northern Ireland to engage and agree on, that there can be no question of an imposed solution and that the most helpful thing the Irish Government could do about the past is to be more forthcoming about the role of the state authorities in collusion with the IRA?
The Prime Minister:Let me reassure the right hon. Gentleman that there is absolutely no question of an imposed solution. The proposal for the Haass discussions was a proposal of the Northern Ireland parties themselves. I obviously wish this process well. I think Haass did a good job in providing the architecture of a future solution on parades, flags and the past. I hope the parties can come together and continue the work. My right hon. Friend the Northern Ireland Secretary will do what she can to help to facilitate that work. I think it is important to go on discussing this with the Government of the Republic of Ireland. They have taken steps themselves to come to terms with some of the things that happened in their past. If the parties work together, and if the British and Irish Governments are there to help, I hope we can make some progress. [added emphasis]
As an additional point, back in April 2007 Peter Hain revealed an uncomfortable detail about something that, for some, appears to have become the “agreed truth”
Mr Hain: I hope my friends and colleagues on the other side of the border will not take offence at this, “but I think there was some unhelpful spin from some elements in Dublin which hyped up the interpretation of “joint stewardship. Joint stewardship of the process” was a very carefully chosen phrase. It did not imply joint authority, as I said earlier, joint governance: it implied joint stewardship of the process of bringing peace, of putting in concrete the peace and seeking restoration of the devolved institutions. That is what it meant, and that is what it will mean, that and nothing else. [added emphasis]