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Security Council welcomes Annan's planned trip to Cyprus, urge progress in talks

Security Council welcomes Annan's planned trip to Cyprus, urge progress in talks

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today announced plans to travel to Cyprus and meet with the two leaders - a move that was immediately hailed by the UN Security Council.

"Members of the Council warmly welcomed and supported the Secretary-General's intention to visit the island in the near future in pursuance of the mission entrusted to him by the Council in its resolution 1250," said the President of the 15-member security body, Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore, in a statement to the press following a closed-door briefing on Cyprus by Mr. Annan's Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto.

The President added that the members "hoped that this would enable decisive progress to be made in the face-to-face negotiations in the period before the June target date for agreement which the Council once again endorsed."

Council members regretted that it had not proved possible to make more progress during negotiations held over the past month, the President said. "They expressed the view that the time had now come to set down on paper areas of common ground between the two sides with the aim of establishing the component parts of a comprehensive settlement which takes full consideration of relevant UN resolutions and treaties, and, where differences remain, to narrow and remove those through a process of negotiation focussed on compromise formulations," he noted.

Council members "urged both sides, and in particular the Turkish side, to cooperate fully with the Secretary-General's Special Adviser in such an effort," Ambassador Mahbubani said.

In a separate statement, a spokesman for Mr. Annan said Mr. de Soto had informed the Council that the Secretary-General would meet with the two leaders in Cyprus "in furtherance of his mission of good offices."

The Secretary-General "hopes to see decisive progress in the talks between the two leaders in the coming period" and "plans to call on them separately and to meet them jointly," according to the spokesman's statement.

Direct talks in Cyprus between the two leaders have been in progress since January.