Northern Ireland's Political Parties Can't Agree To Work Together

He will give a statement to Parliament tomorrow about the next steps, but said that there was now a "short window of opportunity" in which to "resolve outstanding issues" and form a government.

Mr Brokenshire said he would seek to amend that law to avoid a new election if a deal can be forged in the time ahead.

Despite Sinn Fein's assertion that talks were over, the British government said it was still determined to see a "functioning executive" put in place.

Mr Brokenshire chaired the talks in Belfast and said they had a duty to victims to address past violence which left 3,637 dead and countless more injured.

The political crisis was sparked in January when the deputy first minister, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, resigned over First Minister Arlene Foster's handling of a green energy scheme introduced while she was economy minister.

"Despite three weeks of intensive engagement, in which I and my officials have actively participated, I deeply regret that it has not proven possible for the political parties in Northern Ireland to reach agreement on the establishment of a power-sharing Executive", said Flanagan. I've spoken to the leaders of each of the main parties this afternoon and there is no appetite for any alternative.

Without an executive or agreed budget for the upcoming financial year, control of Stormont's finances will be handed to a senior civil servant on Wednesday, albeit subject to tight spending constraints.

"There is only one option which the British Secretary of State is entitled to take and that is to call an election".

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Northern Ireland is considered the region of the United Kingdom most economically exposed to Brexit because of its close trade links to the Republic of Ireland.

The two biggest parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin, blamed each other for the breakdown in talks.

Sinn Féin's overall leader Gerry Adams said: "We don't have the terms now to go forward and nominate for a speaker as Michelle has pointed out, or for a first, or a deputy first, minister". "Unfortunately the DUP maintained their position in relation to blocking equality, delivery and equality, for citizens".

Mr Brokenshire said it had become clear that "there remain significant gaps between the parties over issues surrounding culture and identity".

'For example, we will not be able to launch any new programmes, projects or policies which would require ministerial or executive endorsement'.

The Northern Irish peace process settlement means that a party from the pro-unification Irish community and the unionist community must agree to work together in office to ensure a stable political situation.

That brought down the executive and prompted the snap elections in which Sinn Fein gained ground but the DUP narrowly remained the largest party in the 90-seat assembly.