Turkish Cypriot leader says settlement of 40-year-old Cyprus conflict is possible this year

The Turkish Cypriot leader says a settlement of the 40-year-old conflict that divided the Mediterranean island is possible this year.

Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by Cypriot supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent state in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes it.

Dervis Eroglu told reporters after meeting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday that during negotiations with Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades "we'll try to bridge our differences and find a comprehensive settlement in the shortest possible time."

"We can finalize a settlement and take it to a separate simultaneous referenda in 2014," Eroglu said.

The two sides have been trying to strike an accord for decades. Negotiations resumed in February.