Europe

UK faces government decision on deadlocked Northern Ireland

  • FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 file photo, a road sweeper van passes Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland. The British government is facing a deadline Monday March 27, 2017, on whether to extend negotiations on Northern Ireland’s political future or renew direct control from London. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 file photo, a road sweeper van passes Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland. The British government is facing a deadline Monday March 27, 2017, on whether to extend negotiations on Northern Ireland’s political future or renew direct control from London. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, right, speaks to the media at Stormont in Belfast, flanked by Deputy DUP leader Nigel Dodds , left, as the deadline for restoring powersharing in Northern Ireland runs out later on Monday March 27, 2017. The British government faces a deadline on whether to extend negotiations on Northern Ireland's political future or renew direct control from London. Northern Ireland's latest unity government collapsed in January amid deepening disputes between the British Protestants of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein, (Niall Carson/PA Wire(/PA via AP)

    Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, right, speaks to the media at Stormont in Belfast, flanked by Deputy DUP leader Nigel Dodds , left, as the deadline for restoring powersharing in Northern Ireland runs out later on Monday March 27, 2017. The British government faces a deadline on whether to extend negotiations on Northern Ireland's political future or renew direct control from London. Northern Ireland's latest unity government collapsed in January amid deepening disputes between the British Protestants of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein, (Niall Carson/PA Wire(/PA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • The sun sets behind the Edward Carson statue at Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Friday, March 24, 2017. Carson was a former Ulster Unionist Party leader between 1910-1920. Reminders of the past are everywhere in Belfast _ murals and memorials to those killed in the conflict, along with peace walls that separate predominantly Protestant neighborhoods from mostly Catholic ones _ but there are also new shopping malls and cafes, new tech industries, and lots of tourists. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    The sun sets behind the Edward Carson statue at Stormont in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Friday, March 24, 2017. Carson was a former Ulster Unionist Party leader between 1910-1920. Reminders of the past are everywhere in Belfast _ murals and memorials to those killed in the conflict, along with peace walls that separate predominantly Protestant neighborhoods from mostly Catholic ones _ but there are also new shopping malls and cafes, new tech industries, and lots of tourists. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

The British government faces a deadline on whether to extend negotiations on Northern Ireland's political future or renew direct control from London.

Britain's system of "direct rule" ran from 1972, the deadliest year of Northern Ireland's conflict, until the Good Friday peace accord of 1998 paved the way for the first of several Catholic-Protestant coalitions in Belfast.

Northern Ireland's latest unity government collapsed in January amid deepening disputes between the British Protestants of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein withdrew Sunday from talks aimed at reviving its partnership with the Democratic Unionists, saying no agreement was in prospect.

Britain's secretary of state, James Brokenshire, faces a legal deadline of 4 p.m. (1500 GMT; 11 a.m. EDT) Monday to announce what happens next.