Cyprus's Greek and Turkish community leaders failed on Monday night to remove obstacles preventing the resumption of reunification negotiations.
Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, who is also the president of the internationally recognized government of the eastern Mediterranean island, invited Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu to dinner in a bid to agree on a joint statement setting out the basic principles for a Cyprus solution.
They talked for two and a half hours in the buffer zone running through the divided Cypriot capital Nicosia but failed to break an impasse which has also defied months-long efforts by United Nations officials.
"Unfortunately there is a long way to go before negotiations can resume," said Anastasiades standing next to Eroglu.
Eroglu said he put forward proposals of his own on power sharing between the two communities and suggested that the negotiations be held directly between him and Anastasiades.
Anastasiades said, however, that he preferred consultations to continue at a lower level until agreement on a joint statement is made possible.
The United Nations had set a tentative time target to restart negotiations in October but disagreement over the basic elements of a solution prevented the representatives of the two sides to start substantial talks.
Cyprus was divided into Greek and Turkish Cypriot parts after Turkey, responding to a coup by Greek army junta officers, militarily intervened the northern part of the island in 1974.