By Spiros Sideris – Nicosia
A clear message to Turkey to respect the International Law and the Law of the Sea and stop its illegal actions within the Cypriot EEZ sent the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Egypt and Cyprus.
The three ministers spoke of a tripartite cooperation, which is not aggressive orientated and it stands for peace and stability in the region.
During a joint press conference that gave the three ministers, Ioannis Kasoulides said that he briefed his counterparts on the illegal actions of Turkey within the EEZ of Cyprus, with the three sides, emphasising that such arbitrary and unilateral actions further undermine security and stability of the Middle East, which is already facing serious challenges.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister said that the three countries jointly invite all States to respect the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus on the EEZ and the continental shelf and in particular Turkey to stop all arbitrary investigations within Cyprus’ EEZ. He also reiterated the position that the discovery of significant hydrocarbon reserves, can and should act as a catalyst for wider regional cooperation in contributing to peace and stability in the region.
On his part, the Greek Foreign Minister stated that the tripartite cooperation is not aggressive in nature. But, he said that the situation is very specific and there is an ongoing challenge by Turkey, which affects international Law and the Law of the sea and should stop. If that happens, it will facilitate the continuation of the dialogue on the Cyprus issue and help the return of Turkey’s accession course, Venizelos said.
Referring to the cooperation, he praised the role of the three countries, and spoke of a triangle with added value not only for Greece, but also for the EU and the Mediterranean region.
The three Foreign Ministers signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism.
Earlier this morning, the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades, and discussed bilateral issues and the challenges of Turkey in Cyprus’ EEZ.
During his exit from the Presidential Palace, Venizelos stated the “constant naval presence of Greece in the wider region” of the Mediterranean, which he said, “everyone need to take into account”.
Asked specifically if Athens sends warships to the region, Venizelos said that Greece is a country that respects its international obligations and participates in international missions and in this context, he noted, there is a constant naval presence of the country in the Mediterranean. “There is a very significant contribution of Greece to the UN mission in Lebanon and we are asked by the UN, due to the crisis in the region, to have an enhanced presence, possibly at a frigate level. We also partake in Active Endeavour with a submarine. Our partnerships and all our initiatives are political and diplomatic initiatives aimed at maintaining stability and peace in the region. Everyone should have this in mind”, he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister then assured that there is full coordination with Nicosia “keeping our absolute composure” towards the turkish provocation, and stressed that the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus is the basis for a sustainable and just solution to the Cyprus issue to the benefit of the two communities.
In a journalist’s remark that the United Nations speak of a maritime dispute in Cyprus, Venizelos response was: “there is no naval dispute”.