Tsipras-Sisi-Anastasiades meeting underway on regional issues, oil and gas

Tsipras-Sisi-Anastasiades meeting underway on regional issues, oil and gas

Nicosia, April 29, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriakos Kyriacou

The promotion of economic trilateral relations on shipping, tourism and energy will be the focus of a tripartite meeting among Cyprus, Greece and Egypt in Nicosia on Wednesday.

Amid unprecedented security measures both at the Presidential Palace and throughout Nicosia, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, arrived at the Presidential Palace where he was greeted by President Nicos Anastasiades.

A private meeting between the two presidents followed and then expanded talks between the delegations of the two countries.

Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras also arrived at the Presidential Palace. He is currently holding a private meeting with President Sisi which will be followed by expanded talks between the delegations of the two countries.

Subsequently, the three leaders will hold a private meeting which will be followed by expanded talks among the Cyprus-Greece-Egypt delegations.

The three leaders will then make statements to the press but no questions will be allowed. The joint declaration that will be issued, the Nicosia Declaration, will outline the guidelines for competent ministers of the three countries as regards the implementation of the issues agreed.

Following that, President Sisi, Prime Minister Tsipras and the members of their delegations will participate at a working lunch, at the Presidential Palace, hosted in their honor by the President of the Republic.

The President of Egypt is accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Energy, Investments and the Government Spokesman.  The Greek Prime Minister is accompanied by the Foreign Minister. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Energy and Finance of Cyprus will also attend the tripartite meeting.

“It is a particularly important meeting. We share common concerns with Egypt and Greece, and it is within this context that the meeting will be held,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told reporters.

For Nicosia, energy cooperation with Cairo is a major component of the talks. Egypt has expressed interest in securing natural gas from Cyprus’ Aphrodite offshore field.

Cyprus and Egypt have already signed an EEZ delineation agreement in the hydrocarbon-rich eastern Mediterranean.

In December 2013 the two countries also concluded a treaty on the joint exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves on the median line between the two countries’ respective EEZs.

But similar agreements between Cyprus and Greece, and between Greece and Egypt, are pending.

The EEZ deals Cyprus has concluded with Egypt as well as with Israel were much to the annoyance of Turkey, which is not a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea outlining how neighbouring countries can peacefully carve up the rights to natural resources under the sea.

The leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt have repeatedly stressed that their cooperation is not directed against any other country and that states sharing the vision of a peaceful, stable and prosperous eastern Mediterranean are welcome to participate.

Asked whether Israel would at some point be admitted to club, the government spokesman said: “These meetings are open for other nations to participate, although this requires the approval of all three nations. Announcements will be made once there are any developments on the participation of additional states.”

President Anastasiades is meantime due to pay an official visit to Jerusalem once the new Israeli government has been formed. Subsequently, a trilateral summit of Greece, Cyprus and Israel is being planned, Christodoulides added.