Cyprus’ rival leaders to meet UN chief next month

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) – A United Nations spokesman says the rival leaders of the ethnically divided island of Cyprus are ready to meet with the U.N. secretary-general next month to map out the next steps toward a hoped-for resumption of formal reunification talks.

Spokesman Aleem Siddique said the two leaders also decided to carry on discussions with U.N. envoy Jane Holl Lute to prepare the framework for “structured and results-oriented” negotiations leading to a peace deal “with a sense of urgency.”

The statement came after the east Mediterranean island nation’s Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci held private talks for nearly four hours at a compound inside a U.N. protected area.

Siddique said the two leaders discussed “in-depth the basic principles” of a potential peace accord.

In this photo released from Cyprus’ Press and Informations Office, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, left, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, center, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are seen during their meeting inside the UN buffer zone in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. The rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus are meeting to scope out whether there’s enough common ground for a return to formal peace talks. (Stavros Ioannides/PIO via AP)
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