BELFAST Northern Ireland's main political parties have agreed to pause talks on forming a power-sharing government until after Britain's general election on June 8, the British government said on Thursday.
The semi-autonomous Belfast government collapsed in January and despite fresh regional elections in March, Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists have failed to agree a deal to form a new executive.
That has left Northern Ireland without political leadership as Britain prepares to start negotiations on exiting the European Union.
The British government last week agreed to extend a deadline on forming a government until June 29 to avoid the risk of election campaigning derailing the talks. On Thursday they agreed to pause talks during the campaign.
"At roundtable discussions ... it was agreed that formal talks to establish an Executive will be paused until after the General Election," Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said in a statement.
(Reporting by Amanda Ferguson; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Gareth Jones)