Former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass will not be involved in the party leaders' talks in Northern Ireland, which resume next week.

Speaking after a meeting with Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore today Dr Haass said while his formal involvement has ended his interest has not.

He said the past cannot simply be ignored or dismissed and if there is to be a successful present and future in Northern Ireland the past must be dealt with comprehensively and fairly.

Mr Gilmore said he wants to send a message of support and solidarity to the party leaders saying this is the time for agreement.

Over Christmas and the New Year period Dr Haass and his associate Dr Meghan O'Sullivan failed in their attempts to reach all-party agreement about the past, parades, flags and emblems.