Editorial - Report will not be a magic wand

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The long-awaited report from US diplomat Dr Richard Haass in finally in the hands of the political parties but it seems that a solution to our problems is still a long way off.

Dr Haass had the unenviable task of trying to find a solution to the contentious issues of parading, flags and dealing with the past.

Predictably, become his proposals have even been made public the parties have already started down the well-trodden path of bickering and recrimination.

Unionists have branded it unacceptable, nationalists have said it contains some workable suggestions and republicans have appealed for calm while the findings are considered.

While the situation is not much clearer than it was when the process began, one thing that is clear is that an acceptable solution to these thorny issues will not be found in a report, however well-researched and thought-out it is.

The reality is that these hulking issues, which have proved to be so divisive, will only be addressed by a culture of mutual respect.

The fact that people are willing to engage in a process of talks around these problems, particularly on dealing with the past, is positive, but unless those taking part are truly willing to respect the opinions of others and compromise on deeply-held positions - and explain such a move to the communities they represent - then this report could end up sitting on the shelf alongside so many others.

The involvement of the international community, particularly the United States, has been instrumental in supporting and encouraging the peace process but they cannot do the hard work for us.

Only a culture of genuine respect for the views of others can create the space in which these and other problems can be tackled.