Athens, January 4, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Alexia Tasouli
The results of the trilateral meeting between Egypt, Greece and Cyrpus that took place in Athens, show that the three countries want to extend their cooperation in more sensitive issues. The Editor-in-Chief of Al Ahram Newspaper Mohamed Abdel Hady Allam explains why this cooperation has a future.
How do you estimate the “Declaration of Athens” which was agreed in the trilateral meeting compared to the two previous ones?
The “Declaration of Athens” reflects the rapid progress in the cooperative relationship between the three countries in a relatively short period. It shows the strong will among the three countries to continue their path to promote progress, growth and peace in the region. It also means that the trilateral relationship will be extended to include cooperation in more sensitive issues, such as fighting terrorism and tackling the refugees crisis, not merely trade and investment.
Greece and Egypt play an important role in the region, in our troubled geopolitical surroundings. What are the prospects in the economic section, in the investments since both leaders talked about multi-task economic co-operation?
A multi-task economic cooperation means there will be more than one area of cooperation, such as developing gas fields, exploitation of gas reserves in the Mediterranean, promoting investment and bilateral trade, and exploiting sea ports in the two countries. I’m very optimistic and sure that the coming years will see many agreements between both countries in these areas, and more.
The president of Egypt said that there is a need for an international mobilization to stop the smuggling of weapons and he added that tackling the situation in the region leads to further risks. How do you believe the Greek government may contribute to this matter?
The international mobilization to fight terrorism and weapons smuggling is a task that must be achieved by all countries in the region, especially the countries that are regarded as key players in the region, including Egypt that lies between the three old continents, and Greece that is considered as the southern Gate to Europe, along with other countries like Italy and Cyprus. And remember that if we didn’t cooperate in this international effort together, all the region will be at risk.
Are you optimistic that in 2016 we might delimitate the maritime zones? Do you think that a possible reaction of Turkey may be the cause of the delay for the agreement?
Yes, I’m optimistic, because in the latest trilateral summit between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus leaders, the three sides agreed to accelerate talks aimed to delimit exclusive economic zones in the area, and I think that the common mutual interests and the friendly relationship between the three countries will facilitate achieving this goal. And considering the possible reaction of Turkey, I believe that this will not cause any problem, because the three leaders made it clear in the last summit that the cooperation between their countries are not aimed to any other country in the region. And for sure, this cooperation will be based on the international law, and countries rights to exploit their own resources.