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Divided Cyprus' Rival Leaders Agree to Restart Stalled Talks

U.N. Special Advisor of the Secretary-General Espen Barth Eide, left, and Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades sit during their meeting at the presidential palace in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Nov. 28, 2016.

Leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus have agreed to resume reunification talks, after a two-week stalemate, the United Nations announced in a statement Friday.

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci agreed to meet for four days in Geneva next month to discuss the state of the negotiations and to exchange views of how to move forward in the interest of reaching a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.

The talks starting on January 9 will aim to draft an agreement on how much territory each side will control in an envisioned federation.

The U.N. said that leaders have decided to immediately re-engage in their negotiations and have instructed their negotiators to continue meeting in order to achieve further progress on all outstanding issues interdependently. The leaders will also meet as necessary ahead of the Geneva summit to mark further progress on other issues that remain unresolved.

The announcement came after Anastasiades and Akinci met more than four hours at a dinner hosted by U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide inside the U.N.-controlled buffer zone that splits Cyprus’ capital Nicosia.

A 1974 Turkish invasion following a coup aimed at union with Greece split the island into an internationally recognized Greek-speaking south and a breakaway Turkish-speaking north. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey, which keeps more than 35,000 troops in the north.