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Cyprus’ Leaders Share Vision for a Unified Island

A UN peacekeeper stands guard in front of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots as they gather with banners reading in Greek: "Yes to the future solution now", outside from the Ledra Palace Hotel before a dinner between Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades, Turk

Cyprus’ rival Greek and Turkish leaders have discussed their “shared vision” for a unified island under a federal system after four decades of division.

U.N.-brokered peace talks between Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and the newly elected leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Mustafa Akinci, resumed on Friday in Nicosia after an 8-month impasse.

The two leaders expressed optimism for a bright future in the interest of all Cypriots.

“In the prevailing climate of optimism, and encouraged by the momentum that is building across the island, the two leaders underscored their shared will to reach a comprehensive settlement,” U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide said, speaking to journalists after a four-hour meeting.

A single federation of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would be created under a reunification agreement.

Peace would bring hundreds of millions in investment and economic growth. Turkish Cypriots would no longer depend on the military and financial support of Turkey. Presently, Turkey keeps more than 30,000 troops in the internationally isolated north.

A peaceful and unified Cyprus would strengthen regional stability, promote cooperation on the region’s offshore gas deposits and help Turkey in its aspiration to join the European Union.

Cyprus has been divided between the Turkish and Greek governments since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island after a Greek military coup that was intended to unify it with Greece.