Security Council members voice concern over slow progress of Cyprus talks
"The members of the Council continued to give their full support to the negotiating process undertaken by the two leaders pursuant to their agreement of 4 December 2001; and to the spirit of cooperation shown by their involvement in the process," said Council President Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation in a statement to the press. "But they expressed concern that progress was slow and that a great deal of ground remained to be covered for the June target date for agreement, which the Council again strongly endorsed, to be met."
Ambassador Lavrov said the members "urged the leaders to intensify their negotiations in the period ahead and to bring to them the urgency, political determination, flexibility and spirit of give and take needed for differences to be resolved." He added that the leaders should "focus without delay on narrowing the differences between them on all issues that must be resolved, as part of a comprehensive settlement which takes full consideration of relevant UN resolutions and treaties."
The Council President's comments to reporters followed a closed-door briefing by Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto. The members, Ambassador Lavrov said, "took note that this briefing was part of the review being conducted by the Secretary-General at approximately the half-way point between the opening of the face-to-face negotiations in January and the target date of June for agreement, referred to by each of the two leaders."
Members of the Council also reiterated their full support for Mr. Annan's mission and "called upon the parties to cooperate fully with the Secretary-General and his Special Adviser, and to look to them for assistance in order to move forward on the substance."