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A man rides a bicycle past a barricade outside the U.N. buffer zone in Nicosia, Cyprus February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou


ATHENS (Reuters) - Cyprus reunification talks broke off on Thursday, sources at the meeting said, after the Greek Cypriot parliament voted to commemorate a 1950 plebiscite seeking union with Greece - angering Turkish Cypriots.

Thursday's meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mustafa Akinci, ended about an hour after it started, sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

It was not clear if their schedule of weekly meetings would be disrupted.

The talks aim to end the division of the island, for decades a source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and an obstacle to Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

Cyprus's parliament, comprised solely of Greek Cypriots, adopted a resolution on Feb. 9 commemorating a 1950 unofficial referendum where more than 95 percent of that community voted for "enosis", or union, with Greece.

Thursday's hiccup underscores the sensitivities of Cyprus, split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek Cypriot coup by elements of the military seeking union with Greece.

The two sides gave differing accounts of what happened on Thursday.

Anastasiades said he took a short break and returned to find Akinci gone. Akinci said Anastasiades walked out, slamming the door.

"It’s up to Anastasiades to reopen the door that he banged behind him in the middle of today’s meeting," Akinci said.

Anastasiades said he asked for an interruption after a brief disagreement with United Nations interlocutors: "The discussion was held in a friendly and constructive climate ... the Turkish Cypriot delegation left without cause."

"Enosis" has always been a deep source of resentment among Turkish Cypriots, and was the cause of inter-communal clashes in the 1960s shortly after the island gained independence from Britain.

The notion of unification with Greece has, officially at least, been abandoned as a concept for decades. The Mediterranean island has been a member state of the EU since 2004.

Last week's vote was proposed by a small nationalist party. Anastasiades's conservatives abstained and the left-wing party voted against it.

(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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