The DUP has dismissed the notion an agreement to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland is imminent, despite optimism at Westminster.
In a party statement issued on Saturday, the DUP denied being involved in a “consultation process”.
The statement insisted: “The party leader indicated in a statement on Thursday that, while progress had been made in the talks, significant areas of difference remained to be overcome and much more work was necessary.
“This remains the position.”
The DUP says it remains “committed to trying to secure an agreement that can be supported by unionists as well as nationalists”.
The notion that an agreement is imminent and that the Assembly will meet next week has no basis in fact given the present state of the talks.
The party statement added: “Any talks outcomes will be judged against the criteria we published in our March Assembly election manifesto.
“We will not, however, be a party to facilitating an outcome that is one-sided in nature and not in the best interests of Northern Ireland.”
Despite the DUP statement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said a deal should be made – especially with issues like Brexit and budgets on the horizon.
Speaking during a two-day visit to Londonderry, he said: “There are a lot of key decision to be made at the moment.
“When it comes to Brexit, the clock is ticking – it’s later than people may think.
“And I’d really like Northern Ireland to have a unique voice, and an elected voice, during this very important period.”