A DEAL to end the 40-year-old Cyprus conflict could happen this year, the Turkish Cypriot leader has said.

Dervis Eroglu said negotiations with Greek Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades on reunifying Cyprus, which resumed in February after a 20-month stalemate, could produce results.

His comments came after he met United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

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Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent state in 1983, but only Turkey recognises it and keeps 35,000 troops there.

The two sides have been trying to strike an accord for decades.Talks resumed in February after the two leaders agreed on a document outlining key provisions of an envisioned federation.

"Our target remains... the settlement of the Cyprus problem in the shortest possible time," Mr Eroglu said.

"We have the support of the secretary general in this regard. He has been encouraging the both sides.

"We said a settlement is possible within this year."