British Prime Minister John Major told President Clinton on Sunday that the IRA's political wing, Sinn Fein, must show more commitment to doing away with arms before British ministers will meet with it.
The two leaders had a 25-minute telephone conversation about Northern Ireland, an issue with which Clinton has become strongly involved, aides in both their offices said.
Relations between the two soured last week when Clinton, ignoring British protests, invited Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to the St. Patrick's Day reception Friday at the White House and let him raise funds in the United States.
U.S. officials hailed Adams' White House visit as a success vindicating their involvement, but critics say Adams hoodwinked Washington into giving him respectability.
British Broadcasting Corp. radio said Major delayed his key conversation with Clinton for a week.
Clinton's decision was meant to encourage Adams to continue a process that bore fruit six months ago when the Irish Republican Army laid down its arms.