OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with the new leader of the Liberal party in an effort to end the political standoff in Ottawa.

Sources say the meeting with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff took place Friday just off Parliament Hill, in the prime minister's office in the Langevin Block.

The pair discussed the economy and the upcoming budget vote that could see the opposition coalition topple the minority Conservative government.

But both sides have been reluctant to move first in putting forward specific proposals for the Jan. 27 budget -- apparently out of fear of being blamed for plunging the country into deficit.

There were no concrete proposals at Friday's half-hour meeting, the Liberals said.

"The ball is in Mr. Harper's court," said Liberal spokesman Jean-Francois Del Torchio.

"He needs to put forward a credible economic plan."

Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke declined to offer additional details, saying only that the meeting was "cordial and businesslike."