May 2, 2002

        Following is yesterday evening’s statement to the press on Cyprus by Security Council President Kishore Mahbubani (Singapore):

The members of the Council heard on 2 May a further interim report from Mr. Alvaro de Soto, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, concerning the direct talks in Cyprus between the two leaders which have been in progress since January, pursuant to their agreement of 4 December 2001.

The members of the Council regretted that it had not proved possible to make more progress in the period of negotiations since the Council was last briefed on 4 April.  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 United Nations resolutions and treaties; and, where differences remain, to narrow and remove those through a process of negotiation focused on compromise formulations.  They urged both sides, and in particular the Turkish side, to cooperate fully with the Secretary-General's Special Adviser in such an effort.

Members of the Council 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 resolution 1250.  They 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.