Athens, December 9, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
During the tripartite and bilateral meetings we had, we confirmed once again the steady growth of our widespread and multifaceted cooperation. A cooperation between peoples with long-standing ties between countries in the same geographical area and have a common understanding and approach on a number of issues, said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the joint statements with the Presidents of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades and Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
“Today’s trilateral meeting symbolizes our firm commitment to a joint cooperation”, said the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, while expressing gratitude for the practical steps adopted.
“We agreed on the need to find a just solution of the Palestinian problem by creating an independent state on the basis of the June 4, 1967 decision, with Jerusalem as its capital”, said the President of Egypt.
He also reiterated the support of Egypt in solving the Cyprus problem on the basis of the unity of the island and on the basis of UN resolutions.
On his part, Anastasiades said the trilateral meeting was a complete success, stressing that the Athens Declaration promotes international law, security and peace.
Anastasiades said that “Cyprus and Greece have decided to support the issues that promote EU-Egypt relations”.
Also, he noted that the discovery of oil reserves can act as a catalyst for cooperation in the region. “Our partnership is not directed against anyone. The energy sources can meet the needs of all”, he said.
Greece-Egypt-Cyprus Trilateral Summit – Athens Declaration
Me, Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Nikos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, cognizant of the immense challenges to the stability, security and prosperity of the Eastern Mediterranean and the need for a concerted and collective response, have met in Athens, Greece, on December 9th, 2015 for the third Greece-Egypt-Cyprus Trilateral Summit, to effectively tackle these challenges andsolidify the foundations of our tripartite cooperation in the years to come, building on the significant progress achieved so far.
Our 3rd Trilateral Summit underlines our well-established and continuous tripartite partnership aiming at promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean in various fields (political, economic, trade, culture, tourism). We remain committed to effectively promoting our common values and interests and continuing to work towards enhancing our tripartite consultation at all levels. This framework serves as a model for regional dialogue, including through close coordination and cooperation in the framework of multilateral fora, as well as through efforts to further promote relations between the EU and the Arab world.
We acknowledge the mutually beneficial nature of the European Union –Egypt relationship. We agree on the need for the European Union to support Egypt politically and economically, including in its fight against terrorism, acknowledging its pivotal role for the security and stability in the East Mediterranean region.
In this context we acknowledge the ever increasing importance of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation for the countries of the region and stress, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration, the enhanced role the Union for Mediterranean can play to this end, as reflected in the Joint Communication of the EU on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy of 18th November 2015. We welcome the recent Ministerial Meeting of the Union in Barcelona
In view of the recent terrorist attacks in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, we wish to reiterate once more our full support to the comprehensive, collective and focused action of the international community towards fighting international terrorism. We strongly condemn all terrorist actions and call upon all states to actively and effectively confront this threat and to step up cooperation on security matters with a view to defeating these groups and exposing their major supporters. International terrorism constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security. In this context we reaffirm our commitment to the collective international effort of the Global Coalition to combat ISIS/Da’esh as well as other terrorist groups in accordance with the provisions of international law, and we underline the need to enhance efforts to end the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and to counter ISIS/Da’ esh propaganda as well as to disrupt the provision of financial and military support to terrorist groups.
The increased mixed migratory flows as a result of the ongoing turmoil in our neighborhood need a holistic and comprehensive approach, addressing the roots of the problem, especially the resolution of conflicts, eradicating poverty and promoting socio-economic development. We affirm our commitment to exert every effort to prevent, as a matter of priority, any further loss of life at sea, in cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, and to combat the activities of smugglers. We reiterate our readiness to contribute towards addressing the humanitarian aspects of the ongoing refugee crisis, in cooperation with all countries concerned.
The mobilization of the EU and all of its Member States is of primary importance since the refugee crisis represents a major challenge that we can overcome only if we work closely together and remain united in our efforts with solidarity and with the adoption of a genuine approach of partnership, shared responsibility and burden.
We strongly support the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and we are of the opinion that the participants to the Vienna process should abstain from acts that in essence undermine the spirit of what was agreed there. We continue to support the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and we consider the two Vienna meetings as a contributing step forward, both for the set of principles agreed on the future state of Syria as well as the timetable set for the steps to be taken in the immediate future to end the bloodshed.
We express our serious concern about the security situation in Libya which affects security and stability in neighboring countries. We support the efforts of the UNSG Special Representative Martin Kobler and we call upon all parties to work constructively towards a swift formation of a Government of National Accord
The situation in Yemen is still posing a threat to the stability of the wider Middle East. We reiterate our support for the legitimate government of Yemen and for the preservation of its unity and territorial integrity. UN-led efforts to resume inclusive negotiations are the only way forward and we welcome the efforts by the Gulf Cooperation Council to complement UN initiatives. We stress the need to address with determination the threat of extremist and terrorist groups present in Yemen. We are worried about the humanitarian crisis and we call for unrestricted access to humanitarian aid for the civilian population.
We reaffirm our support to the government of Iraq in its efforts to achieve stability peace and political cohesion as well as its fight against terrorism. The territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of Iraq should be respected. We call upon the Iraqi government to speed up the national reconciliation process with inclusive participation.
We consider the agreement reached by the E3/EU+3 and Iran in Vienna on the latter’s nuclear program a significant step towards strengthening the international and regional security. We look forward to its implementation according to schedule.
We reiterate our commitment to the two State solution which will guarantee for the Palestinian People a viable, sovereign, independent and contiguous State, on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security with all its neighbors. We express our firm belief that the historic status quo of all holy sites, in East Jerusalem, must be fully respected.
We are deeply concerned about the current escalation of violence. We express our readiness to work closely with both sides and the international community, to help restore calm. Violence can be addressed through restarting, as soon as possible, a credible political process that provides a clear political horizon for reaching a comprehensive settlement. To that respect, the role of Egypt remains crucial.
Given the political vacuum in Lebanon, we underline the urgent need for the election of a new President. We strongly support the efforts of Prime Minister Salam to keep the government stable and functioning, and stand firm by Lebanon in its fight against terrorism and its efforts to maintain security in the country.
We express our full and unwavering support to the ongoing negotiation process, under the United Nations Good Office Mission, for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem based on international law, andthe relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Such a settlement, which will reunify the island, based on the respect of democratic principles and the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, would not only benefit the people of Cyprus as a whole, but would also significantly contribute to the stability and peace in the region.
We wish to re-emphasize that the discovery of important hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the recent discovery of the “Zohr” gas field in Egypt’s Exclusive Economic Zone, can serve as a catalyst for peace and stability in the region. This objective would be better served through the adherence by the countries of the region to well established principles of international law. Recognizing the universal character of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which all three countries are State-Parties, we agree to accelerate negotiations on the outstanding issues related to the delimitation of our three counties’ adjacent maritime zones.
Recognizing that maritime industry and tourism are vital components of the economy of our countries, we agreed to continue working closely together with a view to strengthening our cooperation on common projects, with the involvement of both state and private actors, including developing joint tourism packages and cruises and enhancing the maritime connection between the three countries for the transfer of both cargo and passengers.
We express our concern with regard to the destruction of cultural heritage of countries in the Middle East as well as the organized looting and illicit trafficking of cultural objects, carried out, among others, by ISIS/Da’esh. We agree to intensify our work towards tackling this alarming phenomenon and underline the need for a robust UNSC Resolution envisioning world-wide limitations on the trade and transfer of artifacts from all conflict zones, with the burden of proof of legitimate trade remaining upon the traders, auction houses and buyers and not on the originating states.
We remain convinced of the strategic nature of this trilateral cooperation and we will continue to work closely towards the fullest exploitation of its potential, to the benefit of our peoples and the wider region.
In this regard, we have decided to establish a standing Joint Committee of Cooperation which will formulate, develop, and promote practical projects of trilateral interest.