Tensions are appearing in the relationship between Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson as they prepare to meet the British and Irish governments today (Friday).
Mr McGuinness made thinly veiled criticisms of the DUP leader and his party's response to loyalist violence when he visited the Short Strand yesterday morning.
The Deputy First Minister said: "We do need to be seen to be standing together – not just Peter Robinson and myself – but all the political leaders in the Assembly need to be speaking with one voice and making it absolutely clear that we are not going to bow the knee to anti-democratic forces, whether they be so-called loyalists or so-called republicans."
He added: "The First Minister is under no illusion as to my strength of feeling in relation to what we need to do and what we need to be seen to be doing together.
I can't make other people do things that they don't want to do."
Mr McGuinness called on all parties to support the police and demand the arrest of loyalist rioters.
He said that the "tiny minority" of loyalists behind the trouble must be defeated. The only way they can be "is by resolute action by the political leaders and police".
He added: "As I stand front and centre against the activities of violent so-called republicans, we also need to be seen to be standing together against those antidemocratic, violent so-called loyalists who are trying to confront our institutions and damage the political progress that has been made." He reacted angrily to unionist criticisms of Alex Maskey, the Sinn Féin MLA who said that if he were in Short Strand having his house petrol bombed he would throw stones to defend it.
"Some people who challenge Alex Maskey have a brass neck," Mr McGuinness said.
Paul Givan, the DUP chair of the justice committee, was to the fore in criticising Mr Maskey and has referred his comments to the justice committee.
Republicans are privately frustrated that the DUP did not condemn the attacks on the Short Strand.
Mr McGuinness said if a policeman was killed he "would call on anybody within the community with any scrap of information to give that information to police".
"I haven"t heard one unionist politician over the course of the last five weeks say what I have just said," he added. Secretary of State Theresa Villiers also called for a united political voice against the violence on a visit to east Belfast. In today's Belfast Telegraph, shadow Secretary of State Vernon Coaker calls on both governments to step in.
He writes: "Too often, those in the corridors of power in London talk about Northern Ireland in the past tense. A job done. A success story. No longer of consequence to politicians or policymakers in Whitehall.
"Recent events show that approach has been proven to be as misguided as it is dangerous."