Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades agreed Wednesday that they will start to meet twice a week to discuss unresolved issues.
Both leaders met in the U.N.-administered buffer zone in Nicosia as the first meeting after Anastasiades canceled a meeting over a perceived protocol breach at a U.N. summit in Istanbul, which took place in May. Citing Turkish Cypriot presidential sources, media reported that the meeting, accompanied by the Special Adviser to the U.N. Secretary-General Espen Barth Eide, lasted three hours.
Both leaders had agreed Thursday last week to resume previously interrupted peace talks on June 8.
After the meeting, a statement released from the U.N. Good Offices Mission in Cyprus said that the meeting was fruitful in terms of the methodology of the talks and both leaders agreed to intensify their negotiations.
"The two leaders decided to start meeting twice a week, beginning June 17, 2016, working to resolve the remaining outstanding issues in an agreed structured manner," the statement read.
Speaking before the meeting, Anastasiades said this would help make talks more productive by focusing efforts on tackling disagreements in forging a federation. He had also said that an accord could be a "certainty" by the end of the year if there's the will to overcome differences and to stick to an agreed-upon framework for a federation made up of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot-administered zones.
The statement came after Eide on Wednesday reiterated that the leaders of the island's Turkish and Greek communities were both committed to forging a peace deal by the end of the year.
"I see that both leaders are determined for peace in 2016," Eide said at a news conference after meeting with Akıncı in Nicosia. "But there is no time to lose. The upcoming weeks are important for the Cyprus talks."
Reunification talks between the G
reek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island resumed in May 2015.
Previous negotiations had stalled in October 2014 due to a dispute over underwater gas exploration.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.