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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Blair and Ahern expected to meet
Tony Blair (l) and Bertie Ahern (r)
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are expected to meet
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern are expected to meet next week.

The premiers are to review the British and Irish work-plan aimed at restoring devolution.

DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams are also expected to hold separate talks with Mr Blair during the week.

On Thursday, Mr Ahern praised Mr Blair as a "great leader" after the UK PM said he would stand down within a year.

It is understood the British and Irish prime ministers are considering hosting talks in Scotland in October to help restore devolution.

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October 2002.

While there is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing executive being formed, the government hoped recalling the politicians would help to pave the way towards a deal in the autumn, by its deadline of 24 November.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a republican spy ring.

The court case that followed collapsed and one of those involved, Denis Donaldson, later admitted working as a British agent.

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and has been in place since.

The Preparation for Government Committee was set up to identify obstacles to the return of devolution. It has been meeting over the summer months.




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