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Greek and Turkish Cypriot Leaders Meet for First Time in Two Years


Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat have met for the first time in two years, to discuss the conflict on the divided Mediterranean island.

Monday's meeting lasted for 90 minutes and focused on the fate of about 2,000 people missing following past conflicts on Cyprus. After the meeting at the United Nations compound outside the divided capital of Nicosia, the two men said they are prepared to meet again.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the meeting an encouraging sign. He told reporters in Finland the settlement of the Cyprus issue would facilitate the progress of negotiations for Turkey's European Union membership.

There has been no direct contact between the two Cypriot leaders since Greek Cypriots in a 2004 referendum rejected U.N. proposals for resolving the division of the island.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island after a coup in Nicosia by supporters of union with Greece.