Dec 22, 2014 3:58 PM

Belfast leaders near deal to save power-sharing

The Associated Press

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching an agreement to sustain their troubled Catholic-Protestant government, after negotiating around the clock to forge a new power-sharing pact.

Irish Catholic and British Protestant politicians have spent the past 11 weeks seeking to resolve several chronic disputes that threaten to destroy their 7 -year-old alliance, the cornerstone of two decades' peacemaking.

Bleary-eyed negotiators camped out overnight at Stormont, the government complex in east Belfast, as they inched toward an agreed text outlining the political way forward.

The British government presented all sides with an updated "heads of agreement" document Tuesday morning. It wasn't immediately clear whether all key arguments had been resolved.

Failure could mean that the Northern Ireland Assembly is dissolved and Britain resumes sole responsibility for Northern Ireland's government.


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