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Turkish, Greek Cypriots agree to resume peace talks

RIA Novosti

21/03/2008 16:19 ATHENS, March 21 (RIA Novosti) -- Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders agreed on Friday to restart peace talks to reunify the divided island, opening the way for a Turkish bid to join the European Union.

Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met at the residence of the UN Secretary General's special envoy to Cyprus, Michael Moller, in a buffer zone in the capital and largest city, Nicosia.

The two leaders also made a symbolic goodwill gesture by announcing the opening of a crossing point in Ledra Street, a busy pedestrian thoroughfare in the heart of Nicosia.

"The leaders have agreed to meet three months from now," Moller said. "The leaders have also agreed that Ledra, as soon as technically possible, should open and function," he added.

It was the leaders' first meeting since Christofias was elected president of Cyprus last month. He had pledged to enter into peace talks with Turkish Cypriots as part of his election campaign.

The peace talks between the two sides have been effectively frozen since 2004 when Greek Cypriots voted against a UN reunification plan.

The Greek Cypriots represent Cyprus in the European Union and can veto Turkey's entry to the bloc.

The island has been divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974 following a brief Greek-Cypriot coup



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