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June 29, 2017

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Cypriot leaders pursue a deal 'as soon as possible'

NICOSIA--Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders pledged to strive towards agreement on ending the island's four-decade division "as soon as possible," as they relaunched Tuesday peace talks stalled for almost two years.

Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Dervis Eroglu, meeting at the now defunct Nicosia international airport in the U.N.-controlled buffer zone, endorsed a roadmap for the relaunch of the U.N.-brokered talks.

The status quo in Cyprus, they said in a joint statement after the meeting, was "unacceptable," while affirming that a settlement would have a "positive impact" on the entire region.

"The leaders will aim to reach a settlement as soon as possible and hold separate simultaneous referenda (in both communities) thereafter," it added. Chief negotiators of the two sides were expected to meet later this week to push the process forward.

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