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Updated: January 25, 2010 20:48 IST

Belfast government faces `High Noon’

AP
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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, welcomes Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, at his official residence at 10 Downing Street, London, prior to their meeting, on Monday. Photo: AP.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, welcomes Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, at his official residence at 10 Downing Street, London, prior to their meeting, on Monday. Photo: AP.

The British and Irish prime ministers say they are travelling to Belfast on Monday to lead negotiations on preventing Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government from collapsing.

Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen made the joint statement following their own London talks and immediately after both men talked by telephone with the feuding leaders of the Catholic-Protestant coalition in Belfast.

The major Irish Catholic party, Sinn Fein, is warning it will withdraw from the coalition - triggering its collapse - unless the British Protestant side stops blocking efforts to give the coalition control of Northern Ireland’s justice system.

“We believe that there is a chance that progress will be made,” Mr. Brown told journalists with Mr. Cowen at his side.

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