A DUP delegation led by Peter Robinson will travel to the United States today to meet a number of leading politicians.

They will be seeking to broaden the understanding of unionism in the US and persuade leading figures in Irish-America that the DUP wants to become a party of government.

The meeting could be a significant move in the DUP's journey from a party of protest to a party of government.

The DUP delegation consists of four MPs, Peter Robinson, Gregory Campbell, Jeffrey Donaldson and the newcomer who took David Trimble's Westminster seat, David Simpson.

At a time when the British and Irish governments and Sinn Féin and the SDLP are wondering will the DUP be up to power-sharing in the months ahead, this trip may provide some interesting pointers.

In Washington the DUP delegation will meet key politicians, Ted Kennedy, Hilary Clinton, Chris Dodd and the highly influential Republican, Jim Walsh.

When they travel to New York on Wednesday, Peter Robinson will speak at a function hosted by Bill Flynn, a US businessman who has played a significant role in the peace process.

This is new territory for the DUP, making a case for unionism, in very powerful US circles.

But more importantly, it will give those who want to see a peaceful, prosperous, power-sharing Northern Ireland a chance to assess if the DUP is up to cutting a deal.