Cyprus leaders‘ meeting aims to restart peace talks

The chief negotiator for Greek Cypriots in ethnically-split Cyprus says next week‘s meeting between the rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders aims to pave the way for a full resumption of stalled reunification talks.

Andreas Mavroyiannis told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that the United Nations-hosted meeting doesn‘t signal a formal talks resumption.

But he said it‘s vital that the island nation‘s Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci find “common ground” on rekindling the process.

Mavroyiannis said it‘s hoped that renewed talks could reach a “strategic agreement” on some pivotal issues by autumn. Negotiations would continue on other matters needing more time to resolve.

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Offshore exploratory drilling — that Turkish Cypriots oppose without their say — is set to restart around October.