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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 07:13 GMT
Take last devolution steps - Bush
George Bush pictured talking on the phone in February
Mr Bush praised the leaders' progress made in the peace process
US President George W Bush has telephoned Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams urging them to reach a deal by Monday to share power in Northern Ireland.

A White House spokesman said Mr Bush "urged them to take the final steps to reach agreement by 26 March on a new government for Northern Ireland".

He said they should "work together to build a future of peace and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland."

Mr Bush praised "the steps they have taken to advance the peace process".

Meanwhile, DUP leader Ian Paisley has said late night talks with senior members of his party had gone well.

The meeting in east Belfast went on until after midnight on Thursday.

The party's ruling executive is expected to meet on Saturday to decide whether or not they will nominate ministers to an executive on Monday.

It is understood Mr Paisley is to hold a further meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair in London later on Friday.

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin said there were still those in the DUP who did not want power-sharing.

He told the BBC on Friday that if Monday's power-sharing deadline was not met, the assembly should be dissolved and all assembly members "sacked".

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended since October 2002, amid allegations of an IRA spy ring at Stormont.

A subsequent court case collapsed. Direct rule has been in place since that date.

The two governments have given the parties until 26 March to set up a power-sharing executive, otherwise Stormont will be dissolved.



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