Cyprus president eases concerns over handling of renewed talks to unify divided island

Cyprus' president moved to ease fears that his handling of renewed peace talks with breakaway Turkish Cypriots would scuttle chances for a fair reunification accord.

Nicos Anastasiades held a nationally televised news conference Wednesday to defend a document he agreed to with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu that paved the way for the resumption of peace talks a day earlier.

The document outlines key principles for an envisioned federation. Anastasiades rebuffed critics who decry the document as implying separate Turkish Cypriot statehood — something that would undermine a reunified state.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup aiming to unite the island with Greece.

Anastasiades said many countries are now keen to see a peace accord because of Cyprus' new-found offshore gas deposits.