The European Commission's top official is urging the rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus not to let a "unique opportunity" to reunify the small island nation slip away.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday that momentum in renewed peace talks with the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots, Mustafa Akinci, shouldn't be lost.

Juncker praised Anastasiades for his determined stance in the talks that resumed in May.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

Juncker said a Cyprus peace accord would be "good news for the entire European Union."