The operations of the 7th Cyprus-Greece-Egypt Tripartite Summit took place today in Cairo, Egypt, with the participation of the President of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, the President of Egypt Mr. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The Cypriot President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, the Minister of Energy Affairs Mr. George Lakkotrypis, the Government Spokesman Mr. Prodromos Prodromou, alongside other various officials.
Prior to the start of the session, President Anastasiadis had a bilateral contact with President Sissi. Their talk was followed by a meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece.
The tripartite Summit was then chaired by the three leaders with the participation of the three countries’ delegations.
An agreement was signed between Cyprus and Egypt on the avoidance of double taxation, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding between the Egyptian and Greek Investment Promotion Organizations and CIPA.
Subsequently, the three leaders made statements to the media.
In his statement the President of Egypt, speaking through an interpreter, said amongst others that “we have discussed the escalation and the developments in the Middle East due to unilateral actions aimed at shaking and disturbing the stability of the countries in the region”.
He added that during the Summit “we stressed that security and stability is a strategic priority for all of us and requires co-ordination; without it we cannot enjoy the fruits of the trilateral cooperation mechanism”.
Addressing the Cyprus problem, President Sisi said that “we underlined our country’s endorsement of the actions taken by the Cypriot Government in order for the Cyprus issue to reach a peaceful settlement”.
For his part, President Anastasiades stated that “first, I would like to thank in particular my friend President Sisi for the warm hospitality and well-planned organization of today’s Summit.
This comprises a Summit taking place for the 7th time, but for the first time in the presence of my friend the Greek Prime Minister, thus proving the country’s constant position as an important regional cooperation mechanism, with the aim of fulfilling the common vision of achieving peace, security and prosperity in our wider region.
Given the willingness of all three countries to expand mutually beneficial cooperation, today we have been given the opportunity, through a constructive dialogue, to consider ways to further enhance our synergies in a multitude of new fields, adopting the Cairo Declaration which comprises a reference point for our priorities.
In this regard, I make note with satisfaction of the active involvement of the private sector in an important aspect of our cooperation other than investment, through the signing of the Executive Program for the implementation of the Memorandum between the Investment Promotion Organizations of the three countries.
At the same time, I could not possibly fail to mention today’s signing of the Double Taxation Agreement between Cyprus and Egypt, which demonstrates the strong will of both Governments and business communities to further strengthen our economic, trade and investment relations.
In addition, we expect that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and the Diplomatic Institute of Egypt will contribute to achieving closer cooperation in the field of education and training of our diplomats.
During our consultations, we examined the progress made in trilateral cooperation in a number of areas, including defense and security, energy, tourism, dispersal and environmental protection.
The common position was that the international community should step up its efforts when it comes to tackling incidents of terrorism and extremism.
Regarding the field of energy, which is one of the most important pillars of the tripartite mechanism, we reaffirmed our eagerness to ameliorate our collaborations through a series of new gas exploitation and transport agreements.
In this context, we welcomed the establishment of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum and the recent signing of the framework agreement between the Egyptian Electricity Authority and the Euro Africa Interconnector.
Another issue we were concerned with was that of the dimensions the phenomenon of migratory flows has taken, and the need to address the causal causes of these flows, which have significant socio-economic implications.
A new field of cooperation that has been set in motion is that of Diaspora, upon which it was agreed that concrete actions would be taken under the Nostos program.
Regarding environmental protection, I had the opportunity to brief my interlocutors on the regional initiative announced by Cyprus to co-ordinate the actions of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East on climate change.
The goal is to bring the pioneering scientists and decision makers in our region together to develop practical and feasible solutions that will have lasting benefits for our citizens.
Given that our meeting today is taking place at a pivotal point in time for the wider region of the Middle East, we did not fail to discuss the latest worrying developments, particularly in regard to Libya and Syria, while of course addressing the Palestinian problem as well.
Our common position is that the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of those states needs to be respected -and I am referring to Libya and Syria- with the prospect of a Palestinian state being fully secured by both the Palestinians and the Israeli citizens, in full respect of the principles of international law and United Nations resolutions and decisions.
As expected, I briefed the two leaders on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, particularly in view of the forthcoming trilateral meeting with the UN Secretary-General, with the aim of resuming negotiations, provided of course that the appropriate basis for constructive discussions to be held is there; not under threat, but amid a climate that cultivates the prospects for a creative dialogue.
I have also spoken of the necessary background, since Turkey’s latest unacceptable actions and its intentions to conduct research drilling operations within internationally recognized and licensed blocks of Cyprus, not only contaminate the climate and escalate the tensions, but moreover constitute a blatant violation of the country’s sovereign rights and of the international law.
In this context, I would like to emphasize, as I have informed my interlocutors, that we are ready to exhaust all our diplomatic means in order to put an end to the Turkish violations and to gain full respect for the unhindered exercise of the sovereign rights of Cyprus.
As we have stated many times, the cooperation launched between states in the field of energy is based on the fundamental principle that the discovery of hydrocarbons can and should act as a catalyst for wider regional cooperation, thereby contributing to the prosperity and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey’s unilateral and unacceptable actions are alienating these authorities, while at the same time they are threatening the broader stability, peace and security in the already turbulent region of the Eastern Mediterranean.
In this context, we are confident that at such critical times we will have the strong support and solidarity, as is the case, of the international community and the EU, so that international law can be restored and to be made clear that it is not possible in the 21st century for any third-party country to think it is acceptable to practice gunboat diplomacy without any repercussions.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express once again the gratitude of the Cypriot people publicly to the Egyptian President and to the Greek Prime Minister for their firm support and unequivocal help that Cyprus currently enjoys in the face of the Turkish provocations.
This is a declaration that condemns the Turkish actions in the most clear and indisputable manner, calling for their immediate termination and the need to respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
At the same time, I would like on behalf of the Government and the people of Cyprus to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our friends, the countries of Egypt and Greece, for their timely support in our efforts to end the occupation and reunify Cyprus in a way that will fully guarantee the independence, sovereignty and security of our homeland, free from any foreign dependencies, foreign troops and / or guarantees from third-party countries.
Egypt’s relations with the EU were also discussed with my friend the President and my friend the Prime Minister, alongside the need to deepen those bonds, which will lead to stronger strategic engagement with mutually beneficial results for our people.
Our position is that Egypt is an important partner of the EU as well as a source of stability for the region in important fields, such as that of defense and security, the fight against terrorism and the migration issue.
The eagerness and political will to deepen our cooperation is a fact and it was proven once again today.
I have no doubt that the next step we have taken to set up a Permanent Secretariat in Cyprus will make a decisive contribution towards strengthening the synergies, the planning and the coordination of our actions.
In conclusion, I would like to once again thank President Sisi for the excellent hospitality both myself and the delegation accompanying me receieved, as well as for the excellent organization of the Summit, while at the same time I extend my invitation to the two leaders to return the hospitality during the proceedings of the 8th Trilateral Summit of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt”.
On his behalf Mr. Mitsotakis stated, among other things, that the Trilateral Summit is a testament of how strong the ties between the three countries have been.
He added that the three countries ‘co-operation is based on promoting prosperity, security, regional stability and friendship amongst the peoples, while adding that co-operation is always an option for countries that share these principles.
The Greek Prime Minister also said that the three countries welcomed “the establishment of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum which will coordinate our energy policy, with respect to the environment as always, as the Cypriot President mentioned. This, we believe, will be a decisive factor for closer cooperation between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean”.
“We have signed a cooperation agreement to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural goods. This is of particular interest to all three countries. I also informed on Greece’s initiative within the UN to organize a major international conference on the impact of climate change on our cultural heritage, and to invite the two Presidents to Athens for the 2020 Conference”, Mitsotakis continued.
He also said that steps were being taken in various directions, among which was that of promoting foreign investments from Greece to Egypt and Cyprus.
He added that “we have also come up with joint actions in the field of cruising, but also on the key issue of maritime pollution, and therefore insisted on the need to set up a Permanent Secretariat in Nicosia as soon as possible to support all political initiatives taken at the top level”, Mr. Mitsotakis went on.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, the Greek Prime Minister said that “we have communicated our unconditional support towards the President in finding a just and sustainable solution for the Cyprus issue; a solution on the basis of a bi-zonal bicommunal federation, in line with the UN resolutions without occupation troops and guarantees. And that is why the three countries are in favor of the immediate resumption of talks in Cyprus.
All three countries have expressly condemned what is stated in the joint declaration, that is Turkey’s illegal activity in the Cypriot maritime zones, which constitute violation of international law and cause ruthless tension, while we have also expressed our disapproval of the country’s provocative behavior in the Aegean that also contradicts international law and jeopardizes the good neighborly relations.
I also addressed these issues directly to the US Secretary of State in Athens last Saturday. And it is worth mentioning his two clear and official positions, both in support of Greece’s protection and national security and also against the illegal drilling within the Cypriot EEZ and block 7.
For our part, the three peace-loving countries, we reiterated our strong commitment to respect international law, and in particular the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
We had the opportunity to discuss the escalation of tensions with Turkey in a very useful bilateral meeting with President Anastasiades. This constitutes a rather substantial cooperation following the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Dendias to Cyprus yesterday.
Specifically, we were particularly alarmed after them declaring their intentions to become active within the Varosha region, a development that violates clear decisions made by the Security Council, and of course the fact that Turkey is proceeding with yet another illegal activity in the maritime area that is not only located within the Cypriot EEZ but has been designated and licensed to European companies.
I also want to assure everyone that we are in constant contact, cooperation and coordination with Nicosia for the necessary measures, and in view of the Summit on October 17, as we do in cooperation with all our European and international allies”./ibna