British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said Sinn Féin has every right to expect policing powers to be transferred to Stormont by May 2008.
Mr Blair makes the comments in a newspaper interview this morning as talks get underway to try to rescue the St Andrew's deal for restoring power-sharing in the North.
The devolution of policing powers by May 2008 is part of that deal, provided that Sinn Féin signs up to policing.
However, the DUP has suggested that it might not accept the timeframe.
Sinn Féin has since said it will not hold an Árd Fheis to change its stance on policing until DUP leader Ian Paisley clearly commits his party to the St Andrew's timetable.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said at the weekend that talks over the next few days would be critical to assessing whether moves to restore power-sharing by March can be successful.