APNewsBreak: US diplomat to lead new Belfast talks

DUBLIN (AP) — Northern Ireland government leaders say an American diplomat experienced in the British territory’s conflict will oversee a new round of Belfast talks aimed at tackling the most entrenched issues that still divide Catholics and Protestants.

Richard Haass, who was President George W. Bush’s envoy to Northern Ireland a decade ago, has been appointed to lead multiparty talks that will seek agreement on a long list of sore points left unresolved by the province’s 1998 peace agreement.

The leaders of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government said in a statement Tuesday they hope Haass can publish recommendations by the end of the year that will provide “long-term and sustainable solutions.”

Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Retired U.S. Sen. George Mitchell led Northern Ireland’s 1996-98 peace talks.

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