Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr. George Katrougalos, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, and Minister of Foreign Affairs & Expatriates of Palestine, H.E. Dr. Riad Malki, held a trilateral meeting today in Athens.
The three Ministers held a wide-ranging discussion on issues of common interest, including developments in the Middle East and their impact on the broader region, the Palestine issue, the Cyprus issue, as well as areas for future trilateral cooperation.
The Ministers reiterated their belief in the potential that this trilateral cooperation will generate for the benefit of their peoples and the East Mediterranean region.
They expressed satisfaction that initial priority fields of cooperation have been identified at officials’ level, namely in economy and development, agriculture, tourism, renewable energy sources, education, as well as training and exchange of expertise in the area of civil protection. With regard to the economy, in particular, they focused on Industry and SMEs and expressed readiness to explore the possibility of common actions in these fields.
The Ministers expressed their commitment to intensify their consultations in order to submit specific projects, within the initial priority areas, with significant added value to the overall tripartite cooperation by the time of the next trilateral meeting. To this end, they instructed their respective officials to proceed accordingly, in conjunction with the various Ministries.
Τhey stressed the importance of close cooperation in making efficient use of EU financial tools, such as the European Neighbourhood Instrument and in implementing the European Joint Strategy, with a view to maximizing effectiveness and local ownership.
They stressed the importance of the Union for the Mediterranean as a unique framework of regional cooperation and expressed their willingness to examine ways of promoting synergies and of continuing cooperation also in the implementation of projects.
Moreover, they highlighted the significant role of the Anna Lindh Foundation in promoting cooperation in such areas as culture, youth and countering extremism and radicalization.
They stressed the importance of proceeding to the first trilateral Summit at the earliest opportunity.
The Ministers reaffirmed the commitment of their Governments to mutually acceptable, political and inclusive solutions to all regional crises on the basis of international law and according to the relevant resolutions of the UN. They also stressed that the guiding principle of the trilateral cooperation mechanism is that of fostering peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
They agreed to intensify joint efforts by moderate actors to tackle the regional challenges, fight against terrorism, xenophobia, extremism, radicalization and incitement to violence in all their forms and manifestations, increase information sharing and promote regional security, long-term stability and prosperity.
The Sides expressed their support for a two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 lines, leading to a sovereign, independent, viable and contiguous State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors. Regional peace and security are best served by a solution that takes into account the security concerns of both Israel and Palestine. Moreover, they agree that the solution should be pursued, through negotiations, on the basis of all relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, and the agreements previously reached by the Parties.
The Ministers agree to exchange views and work closely to this end.
The Ministers expressed their support for the efforts underway for the resumption of the negotiation process in the framework of the Good Offices Mission of the UN Secretary General, leading to a just, comprehensive and functional settlement of the Cyprus problem in line with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, International Law and the principles upon which the EU is founded that will reunify the island and safeguard Cyprus’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
They stressed that peace agreements in all their aspects, including as regards security arrangements, must be in line with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of International Law./IBNA