The Permanent Secretariat in Nicosia, a series of agreements in the forefront, with US in the background
By Michalis Michael
The common vision that Greece, Cyprus and Jordan have for the stability in the region was the basis for the talks held in Amman by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the King of Jordan Abdullah.
Also in the Amman were the Foreign Ministers of the three countries, Nikos Christodoulides, Giorgos Katrougalos and Ayman Al Safadi, respectively. In the context of their own preparatory meeting for the leaders of the three countries, the three Ministers had the opportunity to exchange views on the progress made in trilateral co-operation, especially in the areas identified by the leaders at the first Summit in January of 2018. In this context, they exchanged specific views on the operation in Nicosia of the Permanent Secretariat of Tripartite Mechanisms.
Which in turn, as we have already reported, it seems to be now a key instrument through which Greece and Cyprus will both play a role in the region, as not only the energy issues that arise through the tripartite but all those in the agendas, will go through there. In this way, it will be possible to close the gap and the distance that separates the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean with the EU. For example, diplomatic sources commented on how these countries, like Jordan, want to increase their voice in Brussels and this will become a reality through the Permanent Secretariat.
An important element on this axis was the quadripartite meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the three countries with the participation of their Iraqi counterpart, Mohamad A. Alhakim, at the heart of which was to find tangible ways to strengthen the relations of the four countries, in particular in the areas of trade, economy and tourism. During the discussions, an exchange of views took place on regional developments, as well as on how Cyprus and Greece could help as EU Member States in Iraq’s attempt to rebuild the country. An element that is particularly important and carries multiple economic parameters.
The positive agenda and the US
Information from Jordan says that one of the points that stands out is the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Education signed by the three countries, as well as the agreement signed between Cyprus’s Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) and the respective chambers of Jordan and Greece, but also the first business forum among them held in Amman, is that they constitute an important development in the direction of strengthening trilateral relations in the areas of trade, investment and tourism. Agreements have also been signed on joint actions falling within the Secretariat’s objectives, which have to do with the fight against terrorism in the region, organized crime and the fight against drugs.
Cypriot diplomatic sources say that this visit is important because it comes as a result of the positive agenda for the region, put forward by Nicosia. This approach has to be developed even more, the same sources say, because it “shows” that Cyprus is not a troublemaker state and that together with Greece are pillars of security in the region. Something that is also in accordance with the role that the United States want Cyprus and Greece to play in the region which is derived from both their participation in the Greece-Cyprus-Israel tripartite and the declaration of intentions, where Christodoulides-Pompeo signed a number of additional issues, such as countering terrorism and maritime safety. Certainly all problems have not magically disappeared with regard to the relations between Greece-Cyprus-Lebanon, as well as with Jordan, that is why the grid as it unfolds in the area is much more important.
At the same time, there are also issues that countries like Jordan face, and one of them is the migratory flows. An issue to which both Greek diplomats and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras referred to, since Jordan hosts more than 1 million Syrian immigrants (resulting in many day-to-day problems that require EU assistance) and 2 million Palestinians. Help to make Jordan’s voice, with regard to the refugee problem, heard in Brussels; something King Abdullah had also asked from the President of the Republic of Cyprus in the recent past.
After the conclusion of the trilateral, King Abdullah thanked Cyprus and Greece for the help they offer, in their capacity as members of the EU, in relation to the challenges the countries of the region face.
He noted that the three countries’ relations are further reinforced by the common desire and joint efforts of the three countries to achieve peace, stability and security in the region.
The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, after once again thanking the Greek Prime Minister for his support in the effort to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, noted that today’s meeting clearly reflects the importance that leaders attribute to the further expansion and deepening of their synergies for the benefit their countries, their peoples and the region as a whole.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pointed out that both Greece and Cyprus, as EU members that are close to the turbulent Middle and Near East region, have been affected by the refugee problem and migratory flows. He also praised King Abdullah’s personal contribution and role in addressing various regional problems, while pointing to the further strengthening of relations between EU and Jordan./ibna