Breakaway Turkish Cypriots say they have halted their own search for gas off the east Mediterranean island's coast in the latest sign that suspended reunification talks could restart soon.

Ozdil Nami, Turkish Cypriot foreign minister, told The Associated Press Monday that a Turkish vessel that has been searching for gas the last few months will be sent back to Turkey.

Nami also said that a gas search notice to shipping traffic won't be renewed "if the Greek Cypriot side does not either."

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup aimed at union with Greece.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades suspended peace talks last October after Turkey announced its own gas search plans in waters where the Cypriot government licensed companies to drill.