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Cyprus leaders are keen to reach peace deal till the year’s end

Cyprus leaders are keen to reach peace deal till the year’s endCyprus's division could end this year with a peace accord till the end of the year, Espen Barth Eide, a United Nations envoy, said on Wednesday.

Barth Eide, the United Nations special representative to the Cyprus conflict, read a joint statement on behalf two Cypriot leaders.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, a Greek Cypriot, and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said in a joint statement after meeting Wednesday that much progress has been achieved in 16 months of talks, but key differences remain.

"Cognizant of the remaining challenges, the two leaders are committed to continuing and intensifying their efforts ...in the coming months with the aim of reaching a comprehensive settlement within 2016," he said.

The two leaders repeated their commitment to intensifying talks with the aim of reaching an accord on Cyprus' decades-old division by the end of this year.

They would meet with UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on September 25 for further consultations.

The eastern Mediterranean island is split since a brief Athens-inspired coup in 1974, which triggered a Turkish invasion. Since that the island is divided into geographically separated Greek and Turkish territories.
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