Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness will this morning attempt to put on a united front against a backdrop of continued republican claims that Stormont is in crisis.
The First and Deputy First Ministers are expected to speak together to the media at a jobs announcement in Belfast.
Last night, their office released a joint statement from the two leaders, confirming that “senior business representatives from the USA, France, China, Japan and Canada” will attend an investment conference in Northern Ireland next week.
But that came just hours after the latest republican claim that the devolved institutions at Stormont are in extreme difficulty.
Danny Morrison, Sinn Fein’s former director of publicity, wrote an article on journalist Eamonn Mallie’s website in which he said: “Not that for a moment I think that political stalemate will trigger a resumption of armed struggle. Too many of us are relieved that those days are over and done with and are pledged to politics alone.
“I hope I am wrong but I suspect that the Assembly could collapse. If unionists are thinking this cannot happen, they should think again.”
Mr Morrison insisted that the comments were entirely his own and unconnected to his former party. But many viewed the intervention as part of a series of republican warnings about Stormont’s fragility.
Yesterday, Mr Robinson insisted that his veto of the Maze peace centre should not mean that the economic development of the site should stop.
He told reporters that politicians needed to be “mature” about the issue, and added: “There is no reason why the wider development of the site cannot go ahead. What politician is going to say we could have created 5,000 jobs and then didn’t?”
He said it would be “cruel” of Sinn Fein to “punish the people of Northern Ireland” over the issue.
But in the Assembly on Monday, Mr McGuinness said that the Maze would only be redeveloped with the peace centre at its heart.
He spoke at length about several issues where he gave radically different answers to Mr Robinson a week earlier when he took questions on behalf of the joint department.
Although the question time is meant to involve both men speaking on behalf of their department, rather than their parties, Mr McGuinness spoke out strongly about the Maze and also argued in support of the “undocumented Irish” in America, just a week after Mr Robinson had said they were “illegal immigrants” and dismissed calls for their office to get involved in lobbying the US government on the issue.