Both sides exchanged views on the issue of extending the jurisdiction of founding states, in a possible solution to the Cyprus issue.

A young woman pulls her travel case as she walks by the barrels that blocked a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, to the Turkish Cypriot north, in the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.
A young woman pulls her travel case as she walks by the barrels that blocked a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, to the Turkish Cypriot north, in the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, on Thursday, February 16, 2017. (Petros Karadjias / AP)

The UN Security Council on Wednesday welcomed a meeting between Turkish and Greek leaders of the divided island of Cyprus, praising progress made as well as the increased interaction between the two communities.

"The members of the Security Council urged the sides and all involved participants to renew their political will and commitment to a settlement under United Nations auspices," the Security Council said in a statement.

"The Security Council reiterated their support for a Cypriot-led process and reaffirmed the primary role of the United Nations in assisting the parties to reach a settlement," the statement added.

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades met on Tuesday in the UN Green Zone under the auspices of UN Cyprus Envoy Elizabeth Speha, where they agreed on a number of issues to increase confidence, including the interoperability of cellphone networks and electrical grids, as well as clearing hazardous areas.

Akinci said he exchanged views on the issue of extending the jurisdiction of founding states, in a possible solution to the Cyprus issue.

He also mentioned that soldiers were working to clear nine minefields on both sides of the island, with a goal of making the island mine-free.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the UK.

The Security Council called on the two leaders to put their efforts forward expeditiously because the status quo on the island is unsustainable.

Source: AA