A senior official of the Council of Europe met with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on Wednesday, urging the island's two divided communities to lose no time in making real progress for reconciliation and reunification.
Rene Van der Linden, president of the council's parliamentary assembly, said, "We are losing time" referring to the implementation of an agreement reached between the leaders of the two communities on the island in Nicosia on July 8, 2006.
According to the agreement, both sides agreed to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to- day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.
But no significant progress has been achieved so far due to the lack of mutual understanding and confidence.
Van der Linden underlined that it is important that the July 8 agreement to get impact and make real progress.
He reassured "the commitment of the Council of Europe to bring both (Greek and Turkish Cypriot) sides together" to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, for his part, said after the meeting that Turkish Cypriots are "ready and committed to a comprehensive solution" which is their "ultimate target", adding that "intermediate, transitional steps are also important."
"We'll try to do our best in creating better climate, having better relations with the Greek Cypriot side," he said.
Van der Linden is currently visiting Cyprus in a bid to promote dialogue and reconciliation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
He also met with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos on Tuesday.
Cyprus became a member of the Council of Europe in 1961. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of Cyprus following a coup by a group of Greek officers.
The Council of Europe, a 46-nation human rights watchdog, was officially founded in 1948 at the European Congress held in The Hague.