Boris Johnson has joined political talks in Northern Ireland promising to do “everything in my power” to help efforts to restore the power-sharing government.
On Wednesday morning the PM began a series of meetings with the five main Stormont parties.
On Tuesday night, Mr Johnson held a private meeting with DUP leader Arlene Foster.
He relies on the party for support in key votes in Parliament.
Speaking as he arrived, Mr Johnson said his prime focus was to do everything he could to help get Stormont “back up and running”.
“I will be helping the parties in any way I can to help get that over the line,” he added.
“I expect Brexit may come up but it’s crucial that I attach huge importance to the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Speaking on Wednesday morning, DUP leader Arlene Foster gave details about her meeting with the prime minister on Tuesday night.
They had talked about a shared desire to get a Brexit deal, she said, and that Dublin and Brussels needed to be part of that negotiation.
Mrs Foster said no deal was on the the table because “a very belligerent European Union, who instead of focusing on a deal that was good for all of us, wanted to break-up the United Kingdom”.
The issue over what will happen at the land border on the island of Ireland after Brexit – and the proposed Irish backstop – has caused deep divisions between the parties at Stormont.
Mr Johnson met Sinn Féin first on Wednesday before talks with the smaller parties and further discussions with the DUP.
After the meeting Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said she told the prime minister he must not be “the DUP’s gopher”.
Mrs McDonald said she did not believe the PM’s claim that he would act with “total impartiality” towards all parties in NI.
“It’s not our business who dines with whom, but the politics of this is the DUP have used this to ensure… the continuing denial of rights and trample on the views of the majority of people who live here,” added Mrs McDonald.
As the talks were taking place, a number of protestors gathered outside, including a group of Harland and Wolff shipyard workers who are lobbying the government to renationalise their workplace.
The Belfast firm’s Norwegian parent company Dolphin Drilling is having serious financial problems and put Harland and Wolff up for sale late last year.
They were joined at Stormont by Irish language campaigners and the families of those killed in Ballymurphy in 1971 with others calling for government action on legacy issues.
Northern Ireland hasn’t been ruled directly from Westminster for more than a decade, but it has been without a government since 2017.
Several attempts to kick-start devolution have already failed.
The DUP is due to renew the confidence-and-supply agreement on which Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party depends for a working majority in the House of Commons.
Mr Johnson has insisted the UK must leave the EU by 31 October “no matter what”, even if that means without a deal.
But here have been stark warnings about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is crucial in the Brexit debate because of the border it shares with the Republic of Ireland, which will become the UK’s only land border with the EU after Brexit.
The backstop is the insurance policy negotiated as part of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement, which aims to keep the border as seamless as it is now and avoid land border checks.
But Mr Johnson has referred to it as a “monstrosity”.
Speaking to the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar by phone on Tuesday, he said it must be “abolished” from any Brexit deal.
The DUP is also in favour of the backstop being scrapped, but it is at odds with the majority of Northern Ireland’s political parties, as well as business and farming groups who maintain it would minimise disruption to trade and protect jobs.