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Turkish Cypriot Leader Leaves Meeting at Peace Talks

FILE - United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (right) arrives with Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, for a news conference after the Conference on Cyprus Peace Talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 12, 2017.

The leader of ethnically divided Cyprus’ breakaway Turkish Cypriots has walked out of a meeting with the Greek Cypriot president amid ongoing reunification talks.

It’s unclear why Mustafa Akinci left Thursday’s meeting with Nicos Anastasiades and what this means to the months-long peace process.

Tensions have been high this week following strong Turkish Cypriot protests against the annual commemoration in Greek Cypriot schools of a 1950 vote for union with Greece.

Akinci decried new legislation making the commemoration compulsory and warned that it threatened peace talks.

Anastasiades countered that a “mere historical reference” in no way detracts from the goal of reunifying the island as a federation.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.