Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Energy

Tripartite summit to discuss regional issues, oil and gas

President Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras walk down Ledra Street on Tuesday night ahead of Wednesday's summit

By Elias Hazou

The heads of state of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt hold talks on the island on Wednesday, followed by a tripartite summit and the signing of the ‘Nicosia Declaration’, a document expanding and building on the ‘Cairo Declaration’ concluded among the three nations last November.

“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.

On Wednesday morning, President Nicos Anastasiades will hold talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fatah al Sisi, followed by a meeting between Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

These will be followed by a three-way summit of the leaders, after which the ‘Nicosia Declaration’ is expected to be signed, the spokesman said.

The three leaders will later hold a press conference, followed by a working lunch.

The talks agenda includes regional issues, the Cyprus problem, ways of combating terrorism, developments in Yemen, the situation in Syria and Iraq and its impact on regional countries, Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to Christodoulides, the three nations will further discuss ways of enhancing cooperation in international and regional organisations, such as the United Nations, the EU and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

The talks will also revolve around trilateral cooperation in specific areas, such as merchant shipping, tourism and energy.

The foreign ministers and energy ministers of the three nations have held preparatory meetings ahead of the summit.

“We should expect more of these meetings, both on the political and the technocratic levels,” said the spokesman.

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.
On this, Christodoulides said that “dialogue is ongoing”, and that once it were completed announcements would be made.

Reports said that Sisi would be accompanied by his ministers of foreign affairs, energy and investments.
Greek premier Tsipras will be arriving here with his foreign minister Nikos Kotzias.
Egypt’s top-circulation daily Al-Ahram reports that the three leaders are to continue talks on the delineation of their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).

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.

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