Cypriot president says differences remain as country's reunification talks resume

2017-04-21 11:10:47 GMT2017-04-21 19:10:47(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NICOSIA, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said Thursday that important differences still remain in his negotiations with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci seeking reunification of the long-divided country.

The leaders of Cyprus' divided Greek- and Turkish-speaking communities met for about three hours to resume a dialogue after negotiations were suspended for two months following Akinci's quitting earlier talks on Feb. 11.

"I do not wish to create pictures of either optimism or pessimism, but the fact is that important differences remain," said Anastasiades.

He said he raised concerns to Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus -- which is only recognized by Ankara -- over a move by Turkey to send a ship to the Cypriot continental shelf to carry out seismic exploration.

The area is close to what Cyprus considers its own territory now occupied by Turkish troops.

Noting the "good atmosphere" during the talks, the president said what's important, however, is to ultimately reach an agreement.

The two also focused on Nicosia's relations with the European Union, the economy and governance, according to a statement by the Cypriot government spokesman made before the meeting.

The Mediterranean country remain divided since it was occupied by Turkish troops in 1974, in reaction to a coup staged against the Cypriot government by the military rulers of Greece at the time.

Successive peace negotiations over the past three decades have so far failed to result in lasting treaties due to profound differences over security and territorial issues.

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