The leaders of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece reaffirmed on Tuesday their commitment to enhancing political and economic relations between their respective nations, and stressed the need for stability in the eastern Mediterranean.
At the fourth Trilateral Summit meeting, held in Cairo this time, President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al Sisi and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras engaged in talks aimed at deepening cooperation among their countries.
At a joint press conference later, Egyptian leader and summit host al Sisi said they discussed collaboration on “strategic sectors” and “joint plans.”
EU-Egypt relations were also discussed, with Sisi stressing the need to bolster security in the east Med, “for reasons which you are all aware of.”
The three leaders also reviewed the migration crisis, as well as the situation in Syria, Libya, Yemen and the Palestinian issue.
Sisi noted the need for a just solution to the Cyprus question and for the “union of the two parts of Cyprus” according to UN resolutions.
In his own remarks, Anastasiades said Egypt, Greece and Cyprus face common challenges and problems, and that this is how their cooperation is being framed, “without being directed against any other nation.”
He said the three leaders held talks aimed at strengthening their cooperation in the fields of energy, maritime transport, tourism, agriculture and technology.
The president expressed his gratitude for Egypt’s “unqualified support” to Cyprus in various international forums, including at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, with regard to a just solution to the Cyprus issue.
“Egypt has always been a friendly nation with close ties. But I must say that during the past few years, since President Sisi assumed power, these relations have been further boosted, as has Egypt’s support to a small neighbour which unfortunately suffers from the designs of third parties.”
Anastasiades said Nicosia and Athens reaffirmed they would continue to work toward reinforcing EU-Egyptian relations, particularly with regard to issues which promote peace and stability, such as the war on terror, security, stability and crisis management, and migration flows.
For his part, Tsipras reiterated that Athens views the trilateral cooperation as a “strategic choice” to promote security and stability.
The Greek leader said they discussed, among others, the possibility of piping Egyptian and Cypriot natural gas to Europe, via Greece.
The matter of delineating the three countries’ respective exclusive economic zones (EEZs) was also brought up.
Whereas Cyprus and Egypt have delineated their respective EEZs, Cyprus and Greece, and Egypt and Greece, have not.
Tsipras also noted the need for all nations to respect international treaties, and expressed concern “at noises being made in our region which move in the opposite direction.”
It’s understood he was alluding to Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s recent comments apparently disputing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the pact that defined the borders of modern Turkey following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, where a number of Aegean islands were ceded to Greece.
Prior to the three-way talks, Anastasiades and Sisi held a bilateral meeting discussing issues concerning the relations between the two countries, including sea and air transport, communications, education, as well as search and rescue.
Among the talking points was the agreement signed recently regarding the future sale of Cypriot natural gas to Egypt.
On Wednesday morning, Anastasiades is expected to have another bilateral meeting with al Sisi, where issues relating to regional developments, EU-Egypt relations, energy and economy will be discussed.
It’s expected that an agreement on air transportation will be signed between Cyprus and Egypt.
Additionally, two joint declarations are expected to be signed by the three countries on environmental protection, sea transport and recreation cruises.
Accompanying the president in Cairo are foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides, energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, transport minister Marios Demetriades, agriculture minister Nikos Kouyialis, and government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides.