ST. ANDREWS (Reuters) - Britain and Ireland put the final touches on Friday to their own plans for reviving Northern Ireland's assembly after three days of talks were set to end without a deal between pro-British and pro-Irish parties.

Hardliners are deadlocked over who should compromise first to get the power-sharing administration back up and running.

"I think in the end there will be a document that the governments will publish today," British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman told reporters from the talks at a hotel on Scotland's east coast.

"The last few hours are critical."

Negotiators from the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and pro-Irish Sinn Fein are standing their ground over two issues: the DUP's refusal to share power with Sinn Fein and Sinn Fein's reluctance to fully endorse a local police force.

As the province's two biggest parties, their buy-in is crucial if a deal is to be done before a November deadline.


Britain and Ireland have said the parties must agree on how to restore the Belfast assembly by November 24. If they cannot, London will shut it, stop members' salaries and continue running the province from Westminster, with input from Dublin.

Northern Ireland's assembly was set up under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that largely ended 30 years of violence between majority Protestants committed to ties with Britain and a Roman Catholic minority in favor of a united Ireland.

Under the terms of the agreement, the locally-elected assembly is run by an executive in which Irish nationalists and British unionists share power.

However, a failure by Irish Republican Army guerrillas to disarm, the deep-seated mistrust that is the legacy of decades of conflict, and the rise in power of hardline parties on both sides mean the assembly has never really got off the ground.

It was suspended in 2002 amid a row over spying by the IRA, who waged a bloody campaign against British rule during which some 3,600 people were killed.

Repeated attempts since then to revive the assembly have failed but the UK and Ireland were optimistic a pledge by the IRA last year to end violence, to which the province's ceasefire watchdog says it is adhering, would provide the spur to a deal.

DUP leader Ian Paisley is adamant Sinn Fein, the political ally of the IRA, must pledge full support to the province's police force before he agrees to sit in government with it.

Sinn Fein says it will not move on the policing issue until Paisley commits to sharing power.

Negotiations in the Northern Ireland peace process often run beyond planned deadlines. Friday's talks are expected to finish around lunchtime, in part because the infamously intransigent Paisley, 80, celebrates his 50th wedding anniversary on Friday and wants to get home for the party.