Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Cyprus Republic President Nicos Anastasiades and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi concluded a trilateral summit here on Saturday, with an agreement to speed up negotiations for delineating the boundaries of their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).
In a joint communique, the three countries underlined the “universal application of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea” and their decision to “proceed as fast as possible in our negotiations to delineate our maritime zones wherever this has not already been done”. The statement also included a reference to the need to respect the sovereign rights of nations, urging Turkey to stop seismographic surveys underway within Cyprus’ EEZ and avoid similar activity in the future, as well as noting the need for a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue, in accordance with international law.
The three leaders also referred to the Cyprus issue and the need for solution in accordance with international law and UN resolutions in joint statements made after the meeting, asking Turkey to stop provocations in Cyprus’ EEZ.
Commenting on the results of the summit, Samaras stressed that it was a meeting “we owed to history”. He said it had laid the foundations for future strategic cooperation “in the spirit of three countries linked by shared concerns about security in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Greece and Cyprus were both member-states of the European Union, while Egypt was the country with the greatest influence in the Arab world, he added, noting that their talks took on “multiply significant dimensions” in terms of the reunification of Cyprus “with respect for justice and history, while at the same time ending the unacceptable recent provocations against it.”
“For peace and security in the region we have an obligation to launch a lasting and deep cooperation. We will give primary importance to fighting terrorism, which threatens to establish terror as an ideology and status quo,” Samaras stressed, congratulating Egypt’s president for his leading and decisive role against terrorism.
“The civilised world must not allow the map of terrorism to be expanded. I want to repeat that there is no worse trap than to consider that the state of terror is divided into ‘moderate’ terrorist and ‘extreme’ terrorists. Terrorism is uniform and must receive the same, dynamic reply from everyone,” he underlined.
The meeting had also given weight to energy security and to cooperation on the issue of hydrocarbons, Samaras added.
“It is a sector in which we shall cooperate for the benefit of our peoples and for the benefit of EU energy sufficiency. I want to be absolutely clear that in this trilateral cooperation, Greece and Cyprus will support Egypt as ambassadors of the EU. The guiding principles for the issues of the region are stability and security,” he said.
Egypt’s president, on his part, noted that the summit inaugurated a period of trilateral cooperation and reinforced Egypt’s constructive cooperation with two countries that had supported the political line for restoring democracy in the country. He noted that the talks had also examined issues of investment and trade, adding that the three sides had fully identical views on all issues discussed from this starting point.
“There must be cooperation and many official meetings at all levels,” el-Sisi added, noting that the aim was to further reinforce relations “in order to act as a model for cooperation and neighbourly relations for all other countries”.
“It is necessary to respect international law, on the basis of the UN and of respect of sovereignty and non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries,” he said, adding that the talks had also covered the Palestinian problem, as well as developments in Syria and Iraq and the need to fight terrorist organisations.
“We examined the efforts of Greece and Cyprus to enhance Egypt’s contacts with the EU. Egypt gives weight to this trilateral cooperation that wants to make peace, stability and economic growth prevail in the region,” he said.
Cyprus’ president called the meeting a proof of the improvement and the search for ways to establish deeper ties between the three countries, saying their cooperation was based on four main approaches: political cooperation via the diplomatic coordination of actions, with respect for international
legality and the UN charter; initiatives promoting the interests of the countries and their people by reinforcing joint actions in areas such as energy, tourism and shipping; forming a common front against the threats faced by the Eastern Mediterranean, such as terrorism, xenophobia and religious fanaticism; and the aim to make their trilateral cooperation a model for constructive and beneficial cooperation in a volatile region.
“I want to stress that the dialogue and cooperation that is unfolding is not aimed against any country and is based on the principles of international law, with the aim of promoting security, prosperity, and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean. We call on the countries of the region that share this vision to cooperate with us,” Anastasiades said.
As a result of the talks held on Saturday, Anastasiades added, the three sides adopted the ‘Cairo Declaration’ “which is a particularly important, historic text that acts as a milestone for our cooperation and the issues we discussed.” Among others, the three sides discussed the situation in Egypt and expressed their unambiguous support for the efforts of Egypt’s president to promote democracy and economic growth, as well as expressing their full solidarity for Egypt’s fight against terrorism, condemning recent attacks on security forces in Egypt.
He stressed the need for stability in Egypt as a country with great influence in the Middle East.
Regarding their discussion on the Cyprus issue, Anastasiades said they had talked about the need to end the anachronistic division of the island republic through a viable solution leading to a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation on the basis of UN resolutions and with a single and unique legal personality and nationality.
“A solution of the Cyprus issue will not only reunite the island but will allow its legal residents to prosper in a modern European environment. Turkey must display the necessary good will and take substantive steps in this direction. We did not hesitate to condemn Turkey’s recent illegal actions in Cyprus EEZ a few days before a crucial phase in the negotiations to find a solution,” Anastasiades said.
Samaras, arrived in Egypt on Friday night and had a meeting with el-Sisi prior to the trilateral summit on Saturday morning. He was accompanied on his trip to Egypt by government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi and his advisors Chrysanthos Lazaridis and Dimitris Ptochos.