New York, September 22, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Foreign ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt to hold new meeting in New York, a few days before the tripartite summit in Cairo
The meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece – Cyprus – Egypt, under the tripartite schema of cooperation, in the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, takes an institutional nature: for the second consecutive year, Nikos Kotzias, Ioannis Kasoulides and Sameh Hassan Shoukry will meet in New York, in another indication of the strategic importance all three countries attach to the specific schema of trilateral cooperation.
It is no coincidence that the Greek Foreign Minister himself on every occasion highlights the very crucial strategic role of Egypt on the security and stability of the whole Eastern Mediterranean. The Greek Foreign Minister has repeatedly referred to the key importance of Egypt in maintaining ubiquitous contested equilibrium in the region, for battling terrorism and for managing the refugee/migration flows, both present – Egypt today is home to over 5 million refugees – and future ones, as many analysts predict new refugee and migration flows from sub-Saharan Africa.
Indicative of the excellent Athens – Cairo relations is the fact that the idea for the organization of successful recent Conference of Rhodes for Security and Stability came from the initiative of the Greek Foreign Minister in cooperation with the Egyptians and that its texts were first agreed with Egypt – from the Arab world – and then with the other participating countries.
The deepening of trust in Athens – Cairo and Cairo – Nicosia relations has “takes off” the trilateral cooperation schema, as now the cooperation does not only concern the Foreign Ministries, but actively participate in it a number of other Ministries, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Transport in the case of Egypt.
The key element behind the solid foundation of trilateral cooperation is the rationale for the formation of a “positive agenda” in interstate relations in the context of the “active and multidimensional foreign policy” of Mr Kotzias: “We do not define security in military terms, we do not define it only in relation to terrorism, challenges and disasters, but we also mean it in a positive manner. We mean it as the creation of several networks – from energy to infrastructure – which stabilize the whole region as a policy of initiatives and joint actions”.
In this context, Kotzias, Kasoulides and Shoukry is expected at their meeting in New York to further deepen the “positive agenda” of trilateral cooperation, focusing on areas of common interest such as tourism, agriculture, marine economy, shipping, maritime transport and natural energy cooperation. They will also exchange views on all regional issues, particularly in relation to the trouble areas in the region, in which the three countries have already an increased understanding.
Special mention is expected to be made to the cultural cooperation between the three countries, as positive developments thicken in this area. Specifically, it takes shape the proposal of the Greek Foreign Minister for the creation of an Organisation (GC10) in which will participate the countries with the ten oldest civilizations of the world – including Egypt. In parallel, in the Rhodes Conference it was decided to organize an international film festival of the participating countries in Alexandria, while in 2017 Paphos will be the European Capital of Culture.