February 6, 2014 / 12:53 PM / 4 years ago

Cypriot president says 'serious prospects' reunification talks can resume

Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades arrives at a European Union leaders summit at the EU council headquarters in Brussels December 20, 2013.Yves Herman

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus's president said on Thursday there were "serious prospects" that long-stalled talks to reunify the island could resume between the estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

Nicos Anastasiades said negotiations between the two sides on drafting a joint communique outlining principles of a settlement were at a "delicate point".

"It appears there are serious prospects for a substantive joint statement which would satisfy the basic principles governing a Cyprus settlement, and lead to a resumption of negotiations," Anastasiades told journalists after briefing Greek Cypriot party leaders on Thursday.

Peace talks stalled in mid-2012. The United Nations had difficulty brokering a resumption because the two sides failed at the outset to agree on the wording of a joint statement of what sort of settlement they wanted.

Diplomatic sources said the United States was instrumental in pushing for a breakthrough. A senior official of the U.S. State Department was on the island on February 4.

Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Its status as a European Union member state - effectively run only by Greek Cypriots - gives it veto rights over Turkey's EU membership aspirations.

Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Catherine Evans

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