Crete, 10 October 2018
The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Alexis Tsipras, met in Elounda, Crete, on 10 October 2018. They reaffirmed their full commitment to further broaden and deepen their trilateral partnership in various fields of common interest, and to enhance their efforts towards promoting peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean, based on their common values and interests. They also took stock of the achievements from previous trilateral Summits, which reinforced the vitality and the robust nature of the trilateral mechanism.
The Heads of State and Government concurred that the guiding principles of the tripartite partnership are the respect of international law and of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, including commitment to good neighbourly relations, international peace and security, respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of States.
The Heads of State and Government reviewed common challenges faced in the energy field, the need for diversification of energy resources and routes, the security of energy supply and the need to modernize and develop new energy infrastructure, with a view to enriching the prospects for further promoting trilateral energy cooperation, especially in the areas of hydrocarbons, electricity and renewable energy sources.
Ensuring reliable connectivity is a chief challenge in successfully aligning the energy sector with sustainable development and energy security. The discovery and future exploitation of significant hydrocarbon fields in the Eastern Mediterranean is of vital importance for the stability of the region. In this respect, enhancement of energy security conditions constitutes the cornerstone of the trilateral energy cooperation. The Heads of State and Government recognized the importance of private sector projects, such as the Euro-Africa Interconnector, in ensuring the security of energy supply of all three countries.
The Heads of State and Government agreed to intensify efforts to tackle regional challenges, to fight international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, increase information sharing and promote regional security, long-term stability and prosperity. They strongly call on transit countries to share information regarding foreign terrorist fighters with concerned states and international organizations in particular with Interpol. They expressed solidarity to the people and the Government of Egypt, who are suffering from acts of terrorism which seek to destabilize the country, and who are at the forefront of the efforts to fight terrorism both inside the country and in the region.
The Heads of State and Government reiterated their unwavering support to the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to reach a comprehensive, just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem based on the relevant UNSC Resolutions, International and EU Law. To this end, the termination of the anachronistic security arrangements and the departure of foreign forces remain a sine qua non for the Republic of Cyprus to be able to function as a normal sovereign State, member of the UN and the EU, free of foreign dependencies. They stressed that the United Nations remains the only framework through which a settlement can be achieved. They added that UNFICYP’s presence remains indispensable, as long as the illegal Turkish military occupation persists.
The Heads of State and Government stressed the importance for the respect of the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction each State has over its maritime zones in accordance with international law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They expressed their desire to strengthen their cooperation through a series of agreements on the exploitation and transfer of natural gas, which further highlights the fact that the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves can serve as a catalyst for regional stability and prosperity. They underlined that this cooperation is based on the well-established principles and rules of international law. In this respect, they emphasized the universal character of UNCLOS and stressed their commitment to proceed expeditiously with the negotiations on the delimitation of their common maritime boundaries where appropriate.
They called on Turkey to cease all illegal activities within the maritime zones of Cyprus and to refrain from similar actions in the future.
This current trilateral partnership serves as an exemplar for furthering dialogue and promoting the relations between the European Union (EU) countries and the countries of the region. In this respect, the Heads of State and Government expressed their determination to work together for achieving an enhanced mutually beneficial EU-Egypt Partnership, leading towards a stronger strategic engagement in areas of common interest.
To this end, they called for the speedy preparation for the first EU- League of Arab States Summit scheduled to be held in Egypt in February 2019.
On the Palestinian issue, the Heads of State and Government called for a just, negotiated and lasting peace settlement entailing a two-state solution based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, through the establishment of a sovereign, viable and contiguous Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace with all its neighbors. They also stressed that the two state-solution is the only solution that responds satisfactorily to Israeli and Palestinian security needs and to Palestinian aspirations.
The leaders recognized the instrumental role played by Egypt in the conclusion of the agreement between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo on 12 October 2017 aiming at intra-Palestinian reconciliation. They support the full return of the Gaza crossings to the control of the Palestinian Authority which would be a significant development in the implementation of the agreement reached in Cairo. They underlined the importance that the agreement delivers on the ground.
On Libya, the Heads of State and Government expressed concern at the situation in Libya. They reiterated their support for the full implementation efforts of the Action Plan presented by Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Ghassan Salamé during a high-level meeting on 20 September 2017 in New York, aiming at advancing an inclusive and Libyan-owned political process in a bid to normalize the situation and restore stability in Libya. This Action Plan constitutes a solid basis for achieving progress. They expressed their deep concern for the continued threat posed by terrorism in Libya, as well as smuggling and trafficking through Libya, and encouraged all Libyan parties to work constructively with SR Salamé.
On Syria, the Heads of State and Government expressed their commitment to the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Syrian state and expressed their firm belief that only a credible political solution, as defined in UNSCR 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, will ensure the stability of Syria and enable a defeat of Da’esh and other UN-designated terrorist groups in Syria. In this respect, they reaffirmed their support to the UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, and emphasized the need for resuming the negotiations, and convening the constitutional committee without delay.
The Heads of State and Government agreed that, enhanced and concerted regional cooperation is of paramount importance to tackle issues related to migration and border management. The refugee/migration crisis requires burden sharing and bold decisions on the basis of dialogue and cooperation. Recognizing the high degree of interdependence in the Euro-Mediterranean region and common challenges faced, the leaders underlined that these challenges should be addressed in a concerted manner.
In this regard, the leaders emphasized the necessity to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement resulting from state fragility, insecurity, and inequalities, as well as from demographic, economic and environmental trends. At the same time, they stressed the need to strengthen the fight against irregular migration and migrant smuggling through effective border management and enhanced cross-border cooperation.
The leaders underscored that it is only through responding decisively and managing together migration flows in all their aspects on both shores of the Mediterranean, guided by the principles of solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility, can this complex and multifaceted phenomenon be effectively and sustainably addressed.
The Heads of State and Government reiterated the importance of the Union for the Mediterranean as a vehicle for intensifying the cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean, within the framework of the Southern Dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy. They welcomed the appointment of the Egyptian Ambassador, Mr. Nasser Kamel as the new Secretary General for UfM.
The Heads of State and Government also reaffirmed their willingness to continue their excellent cooperation in the context of International Organizations and especially within the UN system.
Given the geopolitics of the region and the historic relations between the three countries, the leaders reaffirmed the importance of closer cooperation and policy coordination in many fields.
The Heads of State and Government welcomed the establishment of the Operational Framework of the Cyprus-Egypt-Greece Collaborative Innovation Network (CEG COIN) inaugurated during the 5th Summit in Nicosia. Based in Borgh El Arab, its branches in Greece and Cyprus have started operating, while the Centre’s online platform has been launched and is continually being enriched and diversified.
They reaffirmed their full support for the Centre’s Action Plan for the years 2018-2019, including participation in Cairo ICT 2018 in November, and the Thessaloniki International Exhibition 2019, and welcomed the organization of the first Hackathon in Nicosia in 2019.
In the environmental field, the Heads of State and Government welcomed the technical progress achieved in the five priority areas endorsed at the Trilateral Summit in Nicosia, in November 2018. Given the cross – border nature of many environmental issues that require cooperation at sub-regional, regional and global levels, as well as the challenges facing the Mediterranean Region, they stressed again their commitment to further pursue joint actions in the field of environmental protection. In this context, they expressed their determination to proceed promptly with, inter alia, the elaboration and implementation of a Sub – Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan (SCP) for the preparedness and response to accidental marine pollution in the framework of the Barcelona Convention.
The leaders also welcomed the progress achieved towards the implementation of joint projects in the sector of cruise tourism and the ongoing discussions on relevant issues such as management of tourism ports (marinas), joint marketing activities, as well as development of joint tourism packages focusing on distant tourism markets. They expressed the willingness of the three countries to thoroughly examine opportunities and investment incentives in the tourism sector.
The Heads of State and Government welcomed the signing of a Memorandum on Cooperation in the fields of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, Information and Communication Technology in Education, and Cooperation between Higher Education and other Educational, Scientific and Research Institutions.
The Heads of State and Government underlined the importance of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship for the economy, taking into account their contribution to growth, job creation and social cohesion. They also recognized the vital contribution of start-ups in business innovation, internationalization and new jobs creation and agreed to fully exploit existing potential in this field by facilitating the creation of synergies and promoting interconnection of start-up ecosystems, as a dynamic component of the business environment.
In this regard, they welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in the fields of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and Entrepreneurship.
They also welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between Enterprise Greece, Invest Cyprus and the General Authority of Egypt for Investment and Free Zones aiming at strengthening investment relations and improving the business and trade environment.
The Heads of State and Government confirmed the readiness of the three countries to cooperate in the field of Customs. They welcomed the signing of a Memorandum on Customs Technical Cooperation to that effect.
They also reiterated their commitment to promote cooperation between research institutes and competent authorities in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, food and nutrition policy. To this end, they agreed to encourage the transfer of scientific and technical expertise, exchange of visits of experts as well as participation in training programs and research activities.
The Heads of State and Government underlined the importance of preserving and protecting the cultural heritage of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East in general, and emphasized their resolve to counter looting and illicit trafficking in cultural property including cultural property originating in armed conflict areas. They reiterated the significance of the “Convention on Offences Related to Cultural Property”, the “Nicosia Convention”, which focuses on the criminalization of the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
In the same vein, the Heads of State and Government called for further steps to prevent and prohibit the illicit trade in cultural properties and promote cooperation in restoring illicitly trafficked cultural properties. To this end, initiatives have been taken to formulate a joint Agreement for the Prevention of Theft, Clandestine Excavation, and Illicit Import, Export or Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, and the Promotion of its Restitution.
The Heads of State and Government also expressed their determination to address the issue of the protection of underwater cultural heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean from illicit excavations and damage that might be caused by other activities, through the elaboration of an Agreement.
Reiterating the importance of engaging the private sector, the leaders expressed their satisfaction with the progress achieved in different projects, in particular in the fields of olive groves, waste management and aquaculture and encourage further exploration of investment opportunities.
The Heads of State and Government expressed their satisfaction with the convening of the 3rd Rhodes Ministerial Conference for Stability and Security, which was held on the 21-22 June 2018, under the theme: “The Spirit of Rhodes: Shaping a Positive Agenda for Stability and Prosperity”. In this respect, they reiterated their determination to promote, amid diverse security challenges for the Eastern Mediterranean, a positive agenda of cooperation for the benefit of this strategically, economically and culturally important neighbourhood, making it a safer place for its people to prosper.
The Heads of State and Government acknowledged that the youth represent the hope for the future of their countries and wider region. In this respect, they look forward to a successful 2nd World Youth Forum due to take place on 3-6 November 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. They also welcomed the initiative of the upcoming3rd Euro-Arab Summit “Shared Horizons”, to be held in Athens on 29-30October 2018.
The three countries share historic ties which bind one to the other through, inter alia, their diaspora. The Heads of State and Government agreed to further develop cooperation through the implementation of specific initiatives involving the diaspora with particular emphasis on the youth.
They welcomed the recent trilateral meeting of their Foreign Ministers held in September 2018, in the margins of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York. They reiterated the importance and efficacy of this trilateral consultations mechanism concerning foreign policy issues, which reaffirms the mutual commitment of the three States to cooperate and work towards promoting security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and wider region.
With a view to improving the effectiveness of the tripartite cooperation, the Heads of State and Government agreed to establish a Permanent Secretariat in Nicosia.
The Heads of State and Government encouraged by the positive results thus far and convinced by the strategic importance of the trilateral cooperation will continue to work closely on issues of mutual interests to the benefit of their peoples and of the peoples of the wider region…. / IBNA
Main Photo: The three leaders during the joint press conference, the Greek Prime Minister and host Alexis Tsipras (C), the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades (R) and Egyptian head of state, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Crete, October 10, 2018