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

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades speaks during a nationally televised news conference at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. Anastasiades held the conference to defend a document he agreed with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu that paved the way for the resumption of negotiations a day earlier aimed at reunifying the war-divided island. Anastasiades faces strong pressure from critics who argue that the document contains the seeds of possible Turkish Cypriot statehood, which could unravel any peace accord. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

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Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades speaks during a nationally televised news conference at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. Anastasiades held the conference to defend a document he agreed with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu that paved the way for the resumption of negotiations a day earlier aimed at reunifying the war-divided island. Anastasiades faces strong pressure from critics who argue that the document contains the seeds of possible Turkish Cypriot statehood, which could unravel any peace accord. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus - 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.

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