Europe

Cyprus peace process falters after latest talks called off

  • A man walks in front of the barrels that read on "Break The Wall" that blocked a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, south, to the Turkish Cypriot, north  in the divided capital Nicosia  Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.  The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots says talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus can resume once the island's Greek Cypriot president moves to restore deeply shaken trust.  (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    A man walks in front of the barrels that read on "Break The Wall" that blocked a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, south, to the Turkish Cypriot, north in the divided capital Nicosia Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots says talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus can resume once the island's Greek Cypriot president moves to restore deeply shaken trust. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Greek Cypriot soldier walks in front of  barrels that read on "Break The Wall" that blocked a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, south, to the Turkish Cypriot, north, in the divided capital Nicosia  Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.  The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots says talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus can resume once the island's Greek Cypriot president moves to restore deeply shaken trust. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    A Greek Cypriot soldier walks in front of barrels that read on "Break The Wall" that blocked a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, south, to the Turkish Cypriot, north, in the divided capital Nicosia Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots says talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus can resume once the island's Greek Cypriot president moves to restore deeply shaken trust. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

  • A shadow of a man is seen right on a wall by a barricade that blocks a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, south, to the Turkish Cypriot, north  in the divided capital Nicosia  Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.  The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots says talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus can resume once the island's Greek Cypriot president moves to restore deeply shaken trust. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

    A shadow of a man is seen right on a wall by a barricade that blocks a road from the Greek Cypriot controlled area, south, to the Turkish Cypriot, north in the divided capital Nicosia Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. The leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots says talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus can resume once the island's Greek Cypriot president moves to restore deeply shaken trust. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)  (The Associated Press)

A spokesman for the government of Cyprus says a scheduled meeting between the ethnically split island's rival leaders that aimed to nudge peace talks forward has been called off.

Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides expressed regret Wednesday that breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci told United Nations officials that he won't attend Thursday's meeting.

The latest setback further erodes confidence in the 22-month peace process to reunify Cyprus, split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

Akinci pulled out amid Turkish Cypriot anger over recently approved legislation that made the commemoration of a 1950 vote for Cyprus' union with Greece mandatory in Greek Cypriot schools.

Akinci insists the island's Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades must rescind the legislation before talks can proceed.