Arlene Foster has called for the resumption of negotiations with Sinn Féin after the UK General Election in a bid to break the Stormont impasse.
The DUP leader insisted the dispute, which she said centred on the "details" of proposed Irish language legislation, should not be allowed to prevent the restoration of the devolved institutions any longer.
The Irish language stand-off remains the main obstacle in the way of a return to power-sharing.
Sinn Féin has insisted it will not return to a coalition with the DUP until there is agreement to pass a stand-alone Irish Language Act.
The DUP has said it is willing to agree legislative protections for Irish speakers, but only as part of wider cultural laws that would also include British and Ulster Scots traditions.
Ms Foster said her approach was the "right way forward".
"There are many people in Northern Ireland who love the Irish language, and we have no desire to put a barrier up to them accessing public services," she said.
"And therefore we believe there's ways of doing that through legislation and, indeed, through facilitation, and we can do that - that's not a problem.
"But why are we holding up the Assembly while we're trying to work out the details of all of that?"
She reiterated her proposal to restore the Assembly and set up a parallel process to find a resolution to the language dispute.
Ms Foster's party last week published a 12-point plan aimed at tackling some of the issues created by the devolution crisis.
She said "all roads lead back to devolution" and noted that Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had signalled a desire to return to Stormont at her recent party conference speech.
"I hope that she does want to see devolution returned because I certainly do," she said.
"But I can't move anywhere without the co-operation of the other parties. And therefore, if we're genuinely wanting to move Northern Ireland forward, which of course I am, let us get into those negotiations after the General Election is over and let's get devolution back again."
However, Ms Foster also criticised Ms McDonald for declining to criticise the attempted murder of her late father John during the Troubles.
The DUP leader had accused Sinn Féin of being selective on what it will condemn, after it criticised loyalist banners targeting its election candidate John Finucane.
She had asked would it also condemn the IRA attempted murders of her father and of DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.
Ms McDonald declined the opportunity to condemn the incidents last week, instead expressing "regret".
Ms Foster responded: "Of course all right-thinking people would condemn the attempted murder of two fathers.
"I mean, I don't think that that's something that should have caused any great difficulty but unfortunately Sinn Féin have taken up the usual position in relation to that.
"When someone comes to your home, to try and murder you, it needs more than regret, it should be condemned outright."
In 2013, Ms Foster suggested a unity poll would help to validate Northern Ireland's position in the United Kingdom.
Asked if that remained her view in the context of the renewed focus on unification as a result of Brexit, she said: "I have to say I think it would reinforce our position within the union because clearly we would win that unity poll.
"I think the unfortunate thing is under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, there is the capacity to call that unity poll every seven years then after that, and I think that would be hugely destabilising. Because you're just working in seven-year cycles then to the next unity poll and the next unity poll."
Ms Foster also indicated the DUP could potentially do business with the Labour Party in a hung parliament if Jeremy Corbyn was not leader.
Ms Foster reiterated her view that she could see no circumstance in which her party would support a minority Labour administration with Mr Corbyn as prime minister.
But she acknowledged there were others in the Labour Party, with different positions to Mr Corbyn, who she could consider working with.
In that situation, she said her party would judge any successor to Mr Corbyn against the DUP's election blueprint for Northern Ireland and whether the new leader's vision was good for the region.
"Jeremy Corbyn, of course is an anathema to anyone who believes in the United Kingdom," said the DUP leader.
"I mean he would destroy the economy. We've seen that through his manifesto launch. I mean, some of it is complete fantastical stuff. How he's going to fund that no one knows, he would wreck the economy.
"He would wreck the defence of our nation as well. And more than that it would lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom.
"So therefore, we cannot see any circumstances, I see no circumstance where we would support a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party.
"Of course there are others in the Labour Party who take a different view to Jeremy Corbyn.
"And, if it comes to be the case that someone else is leading the Labour Party, then we will judge it against not only our 12-point plan but whether it's good for Northern Ireland to be in communication with whoever's leading the Labour Party at that time."