The British and Irish prime ministers are heading to Belfast as hopes rise for an end to a political stalemate that has left Northern Ireland without a government for more than a year.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and her Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, are due to hold talks with the main political parties in Northern Ireland's collapsed power-sharing administration.

May's office says Monday's trip is aimed at encouraging the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party and Irish nationalists of Sinn Fein to resolve their differences.

The Catholic-Protestant power-sharing administration has been suspended since January 2017, after breaking down amid scandal over a botched green-energy project.

The parties have blamed each other for the impasse that threatens power-sharing, the key achievement of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord.