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Northern Irish leaders near deal to save Catholic-Protestant government, face all-night talks

  • Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers arrives for a press conference at Stormont House, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday Dec. 22, 2014. Villiers spoke to the media as Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching a new agreement to sustain their Catholic-Protestant government, but face all-night talks to see whether they can seal a deal. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers arrives for a press conference at Stormont House, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday Dec. 22, 2014. Villiers spoke to the media as Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching a new agreement to sustain their Catholic-Protestant government, but face all-night talks to see whether they can seal a deal. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers arrives for a press conference at Stormont House, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday Dec. 22, 2014. Villiers spoke to the media as Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching a new agreement to sustain their Catholic-Protestant government, but face all-night talks to see whether they can seal a deal. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers arrives for a press conference at Stormont House, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday Dec. 22, 2014. Villiers spoke to the media as Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching a new agreement to sustain their Catholic-Protestant government, but face all-night talks to see whether they can seal a deal. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers arrives for a press conference at Stormont House, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday Dec. 22, 2014. Villiers spoke to the media as Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching a new agreement to sustain their Catholic-Protestant government, but face all-night talks to see whether they can seal a deal. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers arrives for a press conference at Stormont House, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday Dec. 22, 2014. Villiers spoke to the media as Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching a new agreement to sustain their Catholic-Protestant government, but face all-night talks to see whether they can seal a deal. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

Northern Ireland leaders say they are close to reaching a new agreement to sustain their Catholic-Protestant government, but face all-night talks to see whether they can seal a deal.

Irish Catholic and British Protestant politicians have spent the past 11 weeks seeking to resolve a series of chronic disputes that threaten to destroy their 7 ½-year-old partnership. Their five-party coalition brought together former enemies in pursuit of lasting peace in Northern Ireland following three decades of bloodshed that left 3,700 dead.

Both sides, in turn, have pressed the British government in London to provide extra funding as the cornerstone for any new deal. Prime Minister David Cameron visited the Belfast talks last week and offered an extra 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in loans. Belfast's leaders rejected that as inadequate.