UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has met with Northern Ireland's political parties in an apparent attempt to strike a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

Rishi Sunak met with political parties at Stormont with some reports suggesting that he could announce a Protocol deal as early as next Tues, Feb 21. 

Speaking after a meeting with Sunak, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson told reporters that further work is required before a deal is struck on the Protocol, adding that negotiations should be dictated by getting it right, rather than by a timeline. 

"Clearly this is a big moment, the next generation of Northern Ireland and its people requires us all, I think, collectively to use our best efforts - particularly the prime minister and the European Commission president - to get these issues resolved and to get to a place where the political institutions can be restored," Donaldson told reporters. 

"The decisions that will be taken by the prime minister and by the European Commission will either consign Northern Ireland to more division or they will clear a path towards healing and to the restoration of the political institutions." 

Donaldson added that his party is yet to see the final text of any agreement regarding the Protocol.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald told reporters that she believed "significant progress" had been made on the Protocol. 

"It's clear now that significant progress has been made and we're very heartened by that," McDonald said after meeting Sunak in Belfast. 

"We now want to see a speedy conclusion of matters and, above all else, we want to see the institutions restored, government restored here in the North.

"The bottom line is that we have to ensure that any deal provides for ongoing access to the European single market, no hardening of the border on the island of Ireland, and a protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts."

The Northern Ireland Protocol is a trade deal agreed as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement that aims to ensure the free movement of goods across the Irish border. 

The Protocol has proved deeply unpopular among unionists, who argue that it threatens that it threatens Northern Ireland's position within the United Kingdom because it requires some customs checks for goods entering the region from Britain. 

The DUP has refused to go into power-sharing with Sinn Féin since Northern Ireland's assembly elections last May in protest over the Protocol. 

Nationalists argue that the Protocol is crucial to the survival of the Good Friday Agreement, which removed all hard borders from the island of Ireland.