UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council has welcomed an agreement by leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to resume reunification talks.
"The Security Council welcomes the Joint Communique that was agreed by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders on Feb. 11, and commends them for the political leadership they have shown," the 15-nation council said in a statement released Tuesday night.
Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu agreed to re-launch talks on establishing a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal state with a single sovereignty, after they met at a United Nations compound on the buffer zone of the capital, Nicosia, earlier Tuesday.
The negotiations were originally scheduled to restart in October 2013, but both sides spent four months wrangling over the wording of a joint statement.
The reunification talks have repeatedly been deadlocked since 2008 over core issues such as the distribution of power, redrawing territorial boundaries and guaranteeing property rights.
The UN, which is facilitating the talks, also hoped for a federal government with a single international personality, consisting of a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State.
"The Security Council reiterates its full support for the process and underlines the benefits that reunification will bring to the island," the statement said, adding the council looked forward to substantive progress in the negotiations as soon as possible.
Also Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a separate statement, welcomed the new move by the two leaders.
The UN has deployed a peacekeeping force in Cyprus, known as UNFICYP, since 1964 when inter-communal fighting erupted on the Mediterranean island.
Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been estranged since 1974, when Turkey sent troops to Cyprus following a coup by Greek army officers.