UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday he was impressed by the progress made so far in peace talks launched nearly one and a half years ago by Cypriot leaders in an effort to reunify the island.
Ban arrived in the island on Sunday to show his personal support to peace talks and he met with President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Monday.
Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu and Foreign Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun were also present at the meeting.
Ban and Talat posed to cameras before their meeting at the presidential palace in Turkish Cypriot side of the island. Following the meeting, the two men had a luncheon which was attended also by chairmen of political parties represented in Turkish Cypriot Parliament.
Ban made a brief speech during the luncheon and said that he was impressed by the progress made so far in peace talks and that United Nations was ready to help reach a solution to Cyprus problem.
Ban described talks as an important chance for a settlement and he praised Cypriot leaders for their efforts.
On his part, Turkish Cypriot President Talat said that clock was ticking against a solution to the problem, and called for an immediate settlement.
"I am ready to take responsibility," Talat said.
UN Secretary-General is expected to appear at a news conference together with Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias later in the day.