Their Excellencies Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Nicos Anastasiades President of the Republic of Cyprus and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Greece, met in Cairo on October 8, 2019, within the framework of cooperation and coordination among the three countries, as they discussed a big number of issues and stressed importance of increasing the efforts exerted for enhancing security, stability and flourishness in Eastern Mediterranean.
The three Heads of State and Government reviewed the latest developments and progress scored in the fields of defense, security, energy, investment, tourism, environment, culture, education along with confronting terrorism and illegal migration.
They also stressed the strategic importance of cementing political as well as economic cooperation, laying an emphasis on robust historical ties between the three nations.
The three Heads of State and Government have also reiterated the need for consolidating international efforts to combat terrorism, urging the international community, especially the United Nations, to take further action against all terrorist groups regardless of their ideologies.
They also called for taking tangible steps against regional parties supporting extremist groups by providing them with funds, weapons, safe havens and media platforms.
Expressing their deep concern over the deteriorating situation in Libya, they asserted the need for a comprehensive political settlement to put an end to this crisis and restore stability in Libya.
On that score, they have reiterated their support to the efforts exerted by Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Ghassan Salamé.
As for the situation in Syria, they underscored their commitment to preserving Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, affirming their support any international endeavors to reach a holistic political settlement to this crisis in light of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué on Syria.
They have also voiced their grave concern over the illegal military operation in Syria recently announced by Turkey.
They vehemently denounced all attempts by Turkey to undermine Syria’s territorial integrity by forcing demographic changes in the Arab country.
As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the three Heads of State and Government underlined the need for a just and last two-state solution that ensures the Palestinian people’s right to establish their own state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and live in peace with all its neighbors.
The three Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their unwavering support to efforts exerted by the Cypriot government to reach a fair and applicable solution to the Cypriot issue in light of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international law.
They also urged Turkey to stop its provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, which violate the international law. They called for withdrawal of the foreign forces frame Cyprus, asserting that the United Nations remains the sole frame through which a settlement to this issue could be reached.
The three Heads of State and Government expressed their grave concern over the current escalation in the maritime parts of the eastern Mediterranean, and denounced the ceaseless Turkish measures in the Cypriot exclusive economic Zone and its territorial water, representing a violation of the international law, and the new attempts to make illegal drillings in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone that had been already demarcated.
The three Heads of State and Government expressed their desire to enhance cooperation in the fields of natural gas exploration and transport through a number of relevant agreements. They emphasized that the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves would be a catalyst for stability and prosperity in the region. In this regard, they welcomed the announcement of the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which will be based in Cairo, as an important mechanism for coordinating gas policies and harmonizing the energy sector with sustainable development, which is of a pivotal importance to achieve stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, along with the agreement to intensify consultations to upgrade the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum to the level of a regional organization. In this context, they welcomed the signing of the framework agreement between the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company and the Euro-African Interconnection Company on the 22nd of May 2019, which aims to establish an electrical network between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece .
The three Heads of State and Government, also, discussed the recent developments in the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam negotiations. They expressed their deep concern over the deadlock in the talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, stressing the need for an effective international role to overcome the current stalemate in the negotiations in order to bring the three countries closer and reach a fair and balanced agreement, especially after spending eight years of direct negotiations without tangible results.
The three Heads of State and Government reaffirmed that the previous agreements, in particular the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015, which stipulates that Egypt, Ethiopia and the Sudan should reach an agreement on the filling and operating rules of the Renaissance Dam, the obligation not to cause serious harm, and the principle of fair and equitable use highlighting that this must be the basis for a fair and balanced agreement.
The three Heads of State and Government stressed the importance of maintaining and protecting the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, in addition to the need to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property, calling for further steps to prevent and prohibit the illicit trafficking in cultural property, including those from areas of armed conflict in the Middle East, and to encourage the efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in imposing a ban on illegal trafficking in this context and supporting the restitution of related rights.
The three Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their intention to prepare an agreement on the protection of cultural heritage in the depths of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea from illegal excavations and from the damage that may result from any other activities.
The three Heads of State and Government agreed to continue developing cooperation with regard to the affairs of their citizens abroad, through the implementation of relevant initiatives, focusing on aspects related to remittances from abroad, labor and labor market participation, investment, business and trade, tourism, culture and youth, as well as Charity activities, under the NOSTOS program .
The three Heads of State and Government expressed their aspiration to work together to achieve a strong partnership between the EU and Egypt that will benefit the interests of all parties and engage strategically in areas of common interest, based on the momentum created by the first summit between the member states of the European Union and the League of Arab States, held in Egypt in February 2019. They, also, stressed the importance of the Union for the Mediterranean as an instrument for intensifying cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean, in terms of the European Neighborhood Policy towards the southern part.
The Heads of State and Government acknowledged the achievements made during Egypt’s presidency of the African Union in 2019 and welcomed the launch of the operational phase of the Africa-Africa Free Trade Area Agreement in July 2019, drawing on the ambitious role that the Suez Canal Economic Zone can play in creating wider economic opportunities for cooperation between Africa and Europe.
In light of what was agreed at the Crete Summit 2018 on the establishment of a permanent secretariat for the tripartite cooperation mechanism between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece based in Nicosia, the three Heads of State and Government agreed to intensify the dialogue on the ways of activating this step, which serves as a starting point towards broad prospects for cooperation between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece. The three countries, stressed the importance of maintaining the uniqueness of relations between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece.
The three Heads of State and Government confirmed the shared responsibility of international partners to address the root causes of illegal migration, including the social, economic and security dimensions. They discussed the opportunities for cooperation in fields related to migration, including labor migration, taking into consideration the demographic differences between the two shores of the Mediterranean. They, also, praised Egypt’s success in thwarting all attempts of illegal migration from its shores on the Mediterranean since September 2016, and addressing this phenomenon through a comprehensive approach and national strategies to combat illegal migration and human trafficking. They also expressed grave concern over the continued influx of refugees across the Eastern Mediterranean route, although the flow of refugees to European shores has declined over the past two years.
Building on the positive results of the previous tripartite summits of cooperation between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, and in conviction of the strategic importance of cooperation among the three countries, the leaders reaffirmed their determination to continue exerting efforts towards greater cooperation and coordination among them, and to continue working closely on issues of common interest for the benefit of their peoples as well as the peoples of region as a whole./ibna