New York, 22 September 2017
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, H.E. Ioannis Kasoulides, the Minister of Foreign Αffairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Sameh Shoukry and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Nikos Kotzias held a trilateral meeting today on the margins of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
This trilateral consultations mechanism, which was launched in New York five years ago, reaffirms the mutual commitment of the three states to cooperate and work towards promoting security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region and facilitates cooperation in this respect.
The Ministers reviewed the progress on the implementation of projects in priority areas agreed during previous trilateral Summits. They welcomed ongoing cooperation in the fields of energy, agriculture, maritime transport, ICT, tourism, trade, and investment. Cooperation between diasporas is an additional promising field.
The Ministers expressed commitment to intensify cooperation in these fields, also in view of the upcoming trilateral Summit of the Heads of State / Government to be held in Nicosia on the 21 November 2017.
The Ministers welcomed the holding of the 7th EU-Egypt Association Council on the 25 July 2017 and the adoption of the jointly negotiated EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities that pave the way for a reinforced, mutually beneficial bilateral partnership leading towards a stronger strategic engagement in areas of common interest.
The Ministers expressed satisfaction for the outstanding cooperation on regional and international affairs, including in the framework of the UN, where currently Egypt is a non-permanent member of the UNSC, and the EU.
The Ministers also reiterated satisfaction with the results of the 2nd Rhodes Conference for Security and Stability that took place in May 2017.
The Ministers welcomed the upcoming 2nd Athens Conference on Religions and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East, to take place on 29-31 October 2017, as a forum of enhancing tolerance and better protection of cultural and religious communities in the region.
The Ministers engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on a number of regional issues of mutual concern, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as other developments in the Middle East (Syria, Libya, the fight against terrorism) and their impact on our common region. The important, constructive role of Egypt in the resolution of these conflicts was particularly highlighted.
The Ministers agreed to intensify efforts to tackle regional challenges, to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, increase information sharing and promote regional security, long-term stability and prosperity. The Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Greece expressed solidarity to the people and the Government of Egypt who are suffering from acts of terrorism which seek to destabilize the country.
The Ministers reiterated that deliberate destruction and looting of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq is an act of barbarity substantially contributing to the financing of terrorist groups. They also expressed support on the need to further address the aspect of trafficking of archaeological objects obtained through looting or illegal excavations into the agenda of countering terrorism financing.
Regarding the ongoing refugee and migratory crisis, the Ministers agreed that effective management is the responsibility not only of neighbouring States and of Europe but also of the international community as a whole. To this end, initiatives should be taken to address the root causes of this complex phenomenon (including wars, conflicts and lack of stability in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere), through cooperation with countries of origin and transit. The Ministers also expressed appreciation for Egypt’s efforts to address migration challenges, by accommodating refugees and migrants and working to prevent illegal migration flows as well as smuggling and trafficking of human beings.
The Ministers reaffirmed unwavering support to the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem that will reunify Cyprus in a viable, functional state in line with UNSC resolutions and international law, without outdated security arrangements which allow for the right of foreign military intervention and without foreign troops. They stressed that the United Nations remains the forum through which a settlement can be achieved and that UNFICYP’s presence is indispensable, as long as Cyprus remains under illegal Turkish military occupation.
The Ministers expressed resolve to strengthen cooperation with a view to promoting good neighbourly relations, regional stability, peace and prosperity. They also reiterated that this cooperation is founded upon well-established principles of international law. They emphasized the universal character of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and stressed their commitment to proceed expeditiously with the negotiations on the delimitations of maritime zones where appropriate.
The Ministers emphasized and re-affirmed their commitment to mobilize all their capabilities to effectively promote common values and work towards unleashing the full potential of our neighbourhood to the benefit of the peoples of our countries and of the wider region./IBNA