Speculation is mounting that a speech to be given by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will give a significant boost to the ailing peace process.
Sinn Fein said Mr Adams would deliver his speech to party activists in west Belfast at 5pm.
Journalists were advised to arrive at the venue a half an hour early.
Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness will simultaneously deliver a speech in Manhattan.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Secretary, John Reid, today described his discussions with Mr Adams as ‘‘useful and constructive’’.
However he would not be drawn on the announcement by the Sinn Fein leader that he was planning a ‘‘significant speech’’ on the peace process later today in Belfast.
Tension was mounting in both Stormont and Dublin as the Northern Ireland parties and the British and Irish Governments awaited the West Belfast MPs speech.
‘‘There is an expectation that something is about to happen which can move the peace process forward,’’ one insider said.
‘‘However nobody quite knows exactly what it is. Cards are being played close to the chest.
‘‘But it must be said that Mr Adams comments yesterday on RTE radio, the Secretary of State’s speech and Martin McGuinness’ visit to the United States are being seen as positive developments.
‘‘If Mr McGuinness is meeting Richard Haass (US President George W Bush’s Special Adviser on Northern Ireland), then the belief would be that he does have something significant to tell the White House.’’