We, Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, and Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, having met in Nicosia today, 8th May 2018, express our commitment to continue strengthening the cooperation between our countries in the framework of a trilateral partnership encompassing an ever increasing number of areas of common interest and, in the process, contribute to the promotion of peace and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region.
As has been underlined on previous occasions, this partnership is not exclusive in design or nature, and our three countries remain committed to welcoming other like-minded parties in our efforts to create and advance synergies and collaboration, to the benefit of our countries and peoples, as well as of our region, which today is facing multiple challenges.
Since our third trilateral Summit, which took place in Thessaloniki on 15th June 2017, and based on the guidelines established in the three previous respective joint declarations, significant and praiseworthy progress has been achieved in various spheres of cooperation. In the meantime, much potential remains untapped and it is therefore imperative to focus our attention on and guide our resources to these areas in an effort to maximise the return from our cooperation, to our joint benefit.
In our continuous efforts to render our trilateral cooperation ever more pertinent and beneficial to our respective societies, we have decided to convene this 4th trilateral Summit under the thematic heading of “Building People-to-People Bridges”.
Recognizing the importance of mutual benefits deriving from our cooperation in sectors of economic activity, with emphasis on the agricultural, industrial and energy sectors, our countries are proceeding with policies that could promote, facilitate, improve and strengthen our economic growth interconnection.
In this context, we acknowledge the important role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) for development and economic growth, as well as the significance of “start-ups” as a driver for innovation and job creation and agree to enhance cooperation in these fields. Such cooperation could include exchange of information, know-how and best practices in the area of SMEs support policies, with emphasis on innovation, in order to improve the competitiveness of SMEs and enhance their access to international markets.
We also agree that further developments on the economic issues our countries are now working on will contribute to promoting investment, innovation, research and growth opportunities for years to come. The common objective is to further increase the existing potential between our countries and to this end, we welcome the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding today between the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, as well as the productive meeting that preceded between the Presidents of the respective Chambers.
In the field of energy, we reconfirm our support and commitment for the implementation of the EastMed Pipeline Project, a project that represents a viable and strategic option of special interest, both for our countries and the European Union.
We welcome the quadrilateral meetings of our competent Ministers and Italy, with the participation of the European Commission, which took place in Tel Aviv on 3rd April 2017 and in Nicosia on 5th December 2017. These important meetings resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Relation to the EastMed Pipeline Project and the commitment to conclude, as soon as possible within 2018, an Intergovernmental Agreement that would facilitate the promotion and implementation of the Project.
We reject recent illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea which are a serious cause for concern as they violate international law and are contrary to good neighbourly relations. We underline our full support and solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus in exercising its sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
We also reconfirm our interest in the EuroAsia Interconnector Project. In this regard, we encourage the conclusion of the remaining studies and the issuing of the relevant decisions by the regulatory authorities of all three countries.
Progress of the EuroAsia Interconnector Project will allow us to examine the possibility of interconnecting the three countries through a state of the art fiber optic cable. Access to high and ultra-high-speed networks is the basis for the development of the digital economy. Consequently, a project that will interconnect Israel, Cyprus with Greece and the European continent will result in strengthening the strategic role of our trilateral cooperation and upgrading the regional value of our three countries in the telecommunications sector.
We welcome the meeting of our competent Ministers held today in the margins of the 4th trilateral summit.
In the field of Information Communication Technologies (ICT), we have agreed that the transformation of our economies is driven through: i) the digital transformation of Governments in order to improve services provided to the citizens and enhance the industry and entrepreneurship, ii) the necessary infrastructure to support the exponential growth in internet use and online public services, iii) the digitally highly-skilled workforce and digitally literate citizens and iv) the cybersecurity actions for trust and confidence within the society. Therefore, with today’s meeting of our competent Ministers and the signing of the two Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of Telecommunications and Information, and Communications Technology, and of Space Technologies, Satellite Operations and Applications, respectively, we agree to further enhance our trilateral cooperation in the spheres of ICT and telecommunications.
The competent authorities of our three countries continue working in close cooperation and coordination towards preparing the necessary actions for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding in Research, Development and Technology signed in Jerusalem on 8th December 2016.
Considering the emphasis on research and innovation and its importance to our respective economies, our competent Authorities will look to meet in Cyprus, possibly within 2018, to identify new avenues for cooperation, including the promotion of the concept of joint ecosystems, as well as the organisation of common activities and/or events with the purpose to establish synergies in such spheres as agriculture, water, environment and solar energy.
Underlining the paramount importance of the protection of the environment in the context of our trilateral cooperation, we acknowledge the significant progress attained in 2017 in the respective thematic areas, namely climate change, water and wastewater management, and protection of the marine environment in the Mediterranean.
We recall the signing of the Joint Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Environment between the three competent Ministries in June 2017, which reflects our ongoing determination to further strengthen and diversify our collaboration, through exploring the potential for collaboration in such areas as satellite monitoring of the coastal and marine environment, active involvement in the EU funded PROJECT SWIM HORIZON 2020 for a cleaner Mediterranean, on treatment of wastewater from olive oil mills and common sets of indicators for climate change adaptation. In addition, we recall the holding of a joint marine oil pollution drill with coordination activities at Haifa in October 2017.
We welcome today’s meeting of our three competent Ministers and the subsequent signing of the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan. This constitutes both tangible evidence and reflects our willingness to further enhance and upgrade our cooperation in a proactive manner. In this regard, we acknowledge and welcome the presence today of the representative of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and express our appreciation for the invaluable support given by its Secretariat for the preparation of the aforementioned Agreement.
We take note of the need for exchange of best practices and experience gained to adapt and implement the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national level, and we stand ready to support such exchanges to the benefit of our three countries.
We recognize the importance of maritime search and rescue cooperation between our countries and the successful capacity building workshop that took place in Piraeus on 20-22 November 2017, as the starting point for further cooperation in this area through similar future initiatives.
We wish to promote and strengthen cooperation in the fields of agriculture, food industry and nutrition policy, through education and training programs, as well as exchange of best practices and technical expertise. We attach particular importance to the production and promotion of agricultural products of high quality and safety. In this context, we are keen to advance cooperation in areas of applied agricultural research and technology that may include agriculture and fisheries, namely fish farming, horticultural production and sustainable utilisation of water, including reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture, food technology and upgrading food safety of crops and animal products.
We encourage pursuing a kick-off event in the form of a trilateral workshop to design a road map for the implementation of the joint agriculture and fisheries cooperation in the aforementioned areas.
Recognizing the vital importance of our cooperation in the area of health for our citizens and societies, we welcome the progress attained since our last Summit in Thessaloniki. In this regard, we acknowledge the first trilateral meeting of the Health Ministers in Nicosia on 20th June 2017 and the signing of a Joint Declaration of Intent on Cooperation between the three respective Ministries in the field of Health and Medical Science. Moreover, we note the current efforts undertaken by our competent Authorities for the drafting of a trilateral agreement on cooperation in the fields of health and medical science and look forward to its signing, if possible, during the next trilateral summit.
We recognize the sizeable significance of tourism to our respective economies and the great potential for cooperation on joint projects and synergies. As such, we reiterate our commitment to strengthen the collaboration of our competent authorities, in conjunction with the private sector and other stakeholders, in an effort to increase the influx of tourists from third countries to our region, through the provision of joint packages for cruises, religious tourism and other thematic fields. We look forward to the first meeting of the three Ministers in charge of tourism for discussions on these and other pertinent issues.
In addition, we agree to examine the potential for sharing information and expertise concerning the application of innovation and digitalisation to the benefit of small local tourism businesses and joint initiatives.
Given the unprecedented challenges prevailing in our wider region and the grave dangers posed by terrorism, violent radicalism and extremism, regionally and globally, our countries continue cooperating and searching for new avenues of collaboration in an effort to address these phenomena.
We firmly and unequivocally condemn all forms and manifestations of terrorism, as well as incitement to violent acts, and call upon the international community to forge closer cooperation in the security field in order to, inter alia, curb the movement of foreign fighters, restrict assistance to terrorist entities and counter the propagation of extremist propaganda.
Likewise, acknowledging the grave dangers posed by terrorism, violent radicalism and extremism, regionally and globally, we note the value of the trilateral senior officials’ steering committee that has taken place in Nicosia and the working group on “Soft Targets” that has taken place in Jerusalem. We look forward to the next round of consultations to be held in Athens before the end of 2018, focused on combating the financing of terrorism.
We note with satisfaction that our cooperation has recently been extended in the field of disaster management and emergency preparedness and welcome the meeting of the respective Heads of Civil Protection Authorities in Athens in April 2017. We commend the creation of a joint steering committee and the ongoing dynamic cooperation between our competent authorities through a work plan that includes, inter alia, systematic exchange of best practices and know-how, regular joint exercises and joint training.
In the education field, we acknowledge the possibilities opened by cooperation in the fields of higher education and research between the higher education and research institutes in our respective countries in different areas of expertise and know-how. The sides will examine the possibility of a meeting between the Ministers of Education in order to discuss these and other pertinent issues.
We convey our determination to continue cooperating in the topical field of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), an area of great significance for the Mediterranean basin. In this regard, we welcome the first meeting of the Mediterranean ESD Committee in Nicosia in November 2017 for the implementation of the Action Plan concerning the Mediterranean Strategy on ESD that was adopted during the conference of the competent Ministers of EU Member States and Mediterranean partners in Nicosia in December 2016.
Acknowledging the importance of new modes of communications offered to us by digital technology, we remain committed to realizing the positive potential of the tools of digital diplomacy in our trilateral foreign policy cooperation. We have decided to enhance our collaboration in the practice of diplomacy in the digital era and to promote a safe, vibrant and open internet. The competent ministries will coordinate common projects, as well as training in the sphere of digital communications.
We reiterate our condemnation of all manifestations of religious intolerance, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur.
Underlining our commitment to cooperate for the protection of cultural heritage, including underwater heritage, from illegal excavations and destruction, we wish to examine the creation of a working group comprising senior officials with the aim of safeguarding the historical memory of our peoples and further promoting such cooperation.
We call for further steps, regionally and globally, to prevent and prohibit the illicit trade in cultural properties and promote cooperation in restoring illicitly trafficked cultural properties. Furthermore, we encourage joint scientific research on archaeology, conservation and cultural heritage, jointly conducted by governmental and academic research institutions of the three states, according to their national legislation
Recognizing and appreciating the value added of the parliamentary dimension of the trilateral cooperation, which provides for the direct representation of our respective peoples in this cooperation, we welcome the 2nd trilateral meeting of the Presidents of our Parliaments in Nicosia, on 2nd November 2017 and the second meeting of the Committees in charge of Foreign Affairs in our Parliaments on 9th May 2017 in Jerusalem. These meetings further advanced parliamentary cooperation, including in matters pertaining to water resources and entrepreneurship, research, innovation and education through parliamentary organs and the use of parliamentary tools. We are committed to provide our support to this cooperation and to fully utilize its results and we welcome the 3rd trilateral meeting, which will take place in Athens in 2018.
We convey our support for the further engagement between our respective diaspora communities. To this end, we welcome the third trilateral meeting of our competent Authorities in Nicosia in August 2017, with the purpose of evaluating the measures designed to coordinate the respective diasporas in conjunction with their leadership. On the sidelines of the meeting, consultations were held with representatives of diaspora youth organisations, reflecting our will to engage with the youth in matters that concern and affect them. The three governments welcome the initiative to convene a mission of young leadership of the three diasporas, to visit jointly the three homeland countries this year. This initiative will be realized in cooperation between the governments and the diaspora organisations.
We welcome the first trilateral meeting of our Ministers of Defence in Athens on 7th November 2017, furthering our defence cooperation, including tackling asymmetric threats, contributing to international counter-terrorism efforts, information exchange, cyber defence as well as common exercises on search and rescue. We look forward to the second meeting, scheduled to take place in June 2018 in Nicosia.
We reiterate our commitment and steadfast support towards the enhancement of the EU-Israel bilateral relationship in areas of common interest, including cooperation on strategic, security, safety, political and regional issues. In this regard, we welcome the meeting of the Prime Minister of Israel with the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels on 11th December 2017, on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council. We underline the need to promote cooperation in the framework of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, fully operationalizing it, including through the conclusion of Partnership Priorities within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy, and convening the EU-Israel Association Council.
Acknowledging the significance and relevance of our ongoing collaboration within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean institutions, such as the Union for the Mediterranean and the Anna Lindh Foundation, we agree to further enhance this cooperation with the aim of contributing to the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in our wider region.
We express our full support to the resumption of the negotiation process, under the Good Office Mission of the UN Secretary General, for a just, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem, in line with international law, the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. We commend the efforts of the President and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to reach a solution that will reunify the island and safeguard Cyprus’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, without guarantees from third countries or the presence of foreign troops in Cyprus. We underline that a comprehensive settlement would not only benefit the people of Cyprus, but also significantly contribute to the peace and stability of the region.
We express our hope that the resumption of negotiations of the MEPP will result in a just and viable solution, which will also take into account the legitimate security concerns of the State of Israel.
We highlight the special significance of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
We recall the inherent and deep historical bonds of the Jewish people to Israel and also that this year the State of Israel is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its establishment.
We reject any denial of Israel’s right to exist and express serious concern regarding the threats of terrorism, extremism and weapons proliferation to Israel’s security.
The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, in their capacity as coordinators of the various issues examined today, will continue their consultations on a regular basis in order to monitor and guide the progress achieved in the various fields, as well as to determine new avenues of cooperation.
We agree that the next trilateral Summit will be held in Beer Sheba in 2018./IBNA