The Stormont Executive could be up and running again within a matter of weeks, the Irish foreign minister has said.
Simon Coveney said a “relatively small” number of issues were left on which to reach agreement.
He added that the “mood between the two parties had improved a lot”.
The institutions collapsed in January following a row between the DUP and Sinn Féin over a botched green energy scheme.
Several rounds of talks involving the British and Irish governments and the local parties have so far failed to reach an agreement.
Speaking before a meeting of the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit in Dublin, Mr Coveney said: “I think they are genuinely trying to make progress on some difficult issues for both parties.”
The foreign minister met the DUP and Sinn Féin in Belfast on Wednesday, which he described as “a good day”.
Mr Coveney said they were working on a relatively small number of issues with the hope of putting together an Executive within weeks.
“We are not quite there yet. I suspect there is at least another week in this yet,” he added.
Power-sharing broke down in Northern Ireland in January, when the late Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Féin, resigned in protest against the DUP’s handling of an inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
His party had demanded that DUP leader Arlene Foster step aside temporarily to allow an investigation into the scheme she set up, but Mrs Foster refused.
Over the past nine months, and during two elections at Stormont and Westminster, the two parties have remained deadlocked over a number of issues.
The most significant sticking points between the parties are disagreements over an Irish language act, same-sex marriage, a Bill of Rights and measures to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
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