PM Tsipras: Achieving stability in the region demands respect for international law

Achieving stability in the region demanded respect for international law, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an indirect message to Turkey, after the 4th Greece-Cyprus-Egypt trilateral summit held in Cairo on Tuesday.

“[This] is a self-evident prerequisite for ensuring stability in our region and the only possible basis for developing relations of friendship between all our countries,” Tsipras noted, after his meeting with Cyprus
President Nicos Anastasiades and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The Greek prime minister said that trilateral cooperation with Cyprus and Egypt was a strategic choice made by the Greek government in order to promote peace, security, stability and growth in the fragile region of the eastern Mediterranean. A large part the talks during the summit focused on regional developments, the need to respect international law and cultivate good neighbourhood relationships, he said.

“Recently, it is extremely worrying that voices are being heard in our region that move in the opposite direction and even raise issues that dispute fundamental international treaties. I believe that the reply to any such dispute must be joint, absolutely clear and completely firm, both on the part of the international community and on the part of all the neighbouring countries, whose only goal is to preserve stability, security and cooperation in the region,” Tsipras said.

In other statements after the trilateral summit, he noted that the countries of the region that shared a desire for regional stability and prosperity must work together.

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The meeting had also underscored the principle of good neighbourhood as the basis of cooperation, in the context of an intensifying multiple-level crisis in the region, he added, with the three sides agreeing to work together to promote each other’s positions at international organisations.

Tsipras referred to the necessity for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem that benefited all Cypriots, expressing Athens’ support for the significant effort during the talks now underway on this issue.

He said the meeting had also noted the necessity for a ceasefire in Syria and repeated the importance of a solution to the Palestinian problem.

Before the start of the trilateral summit, Tsipras said the three leaders had planted three olive trees in a symbolic gesture indicating their joint commitment and their joint aims.

In joint statements afterward, they said their meeting had discussed and agreed on deeper cooperation in the sectors of trade, infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture, technology, cooperation between ports and security.

This included the prospect of closer cooperation in transporting natural gas from Egypt and Cyprus gas fields to Europe, delineating their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and cooperation in renewable energy, with regular meetings between the ministers involved. The three also adopted a joint statement of intent for environmental protection, maritime transport and port development.

The discussion had also covered regional developments in Syria, Yemen and Libya, with the three sides agreeing that there must be coordinated efforts by moderate forces, and the handling of refugee and migration flows.
Tsipras urged a cohesive regional strategy on migration, which will replace the dangerous trafficking routes in the Mediterranean with legal and controlled routes to Europe.

The meeting ended with the adoption by the three leaders of the Cairo Declaration, which affirmed that their trilateral cooperation promotes implementation of international law and reinforces security, peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Europe’s security depends on the security and stability of its neighbours; and there cannot be security in the
Mediterranean without cooperation with Egypt,” Tsipras commented, noting that an activation of the EU-Egypt Council on a regular basis can be important for both sides.

“Our meeting reflects an agreement of views, especially with regard to the qualitative change and the leap in bilateral cooperation, strengthening the already strong partnership relation in various sectors,” el Sisi commented.

Anastasiades said the summit had been absolutely successful in achieving its goals, which were to further deepen, consolidate and expand the trilateral mechanism through specific actions. He also repeated that the three countries faced common problems and challenges and that their cooperation was not aimed against any third country. The Cypriot president said he looked forward to the 5th trilateral summit between them, which will be held in Nicosia next year.