Northern Ireland Risks Direct Rule From Britain as Deadline Nears

LONDON (AP) — Northern Ireland’s main political parties are in down-to-the-wire talks to restore the country’s power-sharing government or risk returning to direct British rule.

Government officials said Thursday that a 4 p.m. deadline for an agreement is still in place. Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire says the goal remains achievable. He says there are still a number of issues dividing the parties but that a resolution can be found.

Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party have each blamed the other for the impasse that threatens the future of one of the main achievements of the 1998 Good Friday agreement: a unity government for Northern Ireland.

The DUP, a largely Protestant, socially conservative party, this week signed a deal to support the Conservative government of British Prime Minister Theresa May.

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