British prime minister Tony Blair is threatening to pull the plug on plans to restore devolution in the North unless Sinn Féin and the DUP resolve their differences over policing and power-sharing.
Mr Blair has cut short his holiday in the US to try and convince the two sides to reach agreement on the matter before Assembly elections scheduled for March.
Last week, Sinn Féin agreed to hold a special ard fheis to take a vote on ending the party's opposition to the PSNI.
However, it said last night that the meeting was now in doubt due to the negative response of the DUP.
The unionist party has said it will judge republicans on their deeds rather than their words before agreeing to share power at Stormont.
Mr Blair said today an election would only take place if the two sides can resolve their differences, but expressed confidence that both parties would honour their commitments.