Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brokenshire believes talks deal 'achievable' by Monday
Secretary of State James Brokenshire has said a deal to form a new Executive from the on-going Stormont talks is "still achievable" by Monday's deadline.
The deadline to form a new Executive runs out at 4pm Monday.
If no deal is reached by March 27 to restore powersharing, Northern Ireland could face another snap election - the third election in the space of 12 months.
Secretary of State James Brokenshire will be faced with introducing direct rule and call another election or extend the period of negotiation if no deal is reached.
Speaking ahead of talks resuming on Friday morning following the funeral of Martin McGuinness on Thursday - Mr Brokenshire said while "time is short" he believes a deal is achievable.
He said: "We are now entering the final few days available to political parties here in Northern Ireland to form an Executive.
"I've had constructive discussions over the last two and a bit weeks with the Irish government and political parties.
"There are a number of issues where I see common ground and I firmly believe resolution can be achieved.
"But there are other issues that still remain to be resolved in order for an Executive to be formed on Monday.
"We also have a duty to survivors and victims to come forward with proposals to deal with the past
Mr Brokenshire continued: "I believe a deal is still achievable with good will, good spirit and that positive intent. But time is short and we must firmly focus on those key issues to enable an Executive to be formed on Monday
"It's that task of work we are engaged in, I will be working intensively in the coming days for a positive outcome to see inclusive devolved government restored here in Northern Ireland.
"That responsibility that we all feel in that regard and it is with that intent that we start meetings this morning and I will now head to Stormont castle."
Speaking previously Sinn Fein has insisted there can be no extension to the looming deadline to restore powersharing at Stormont.
Belfast Telegraph Digital