Nicos Anastasiades: President of Egypt, Prime Minister of Greece, friends, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to Nicosia, as well as the ministers and your distinguished associates, for the 5th Trilateral Summit of our countries.
Our meeting today deepens the trilateral partnership between the Republic of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece, which is a model of constructive regional cooperation.
The Nicosia Declaration, the joint communiqué which we announced today and adopted is a point of reference for our priorities in the areas of the trilateral cooperation, a result of our dialogue. A partnership that has produced tangible results at a political, economic and social level, always for the benefit of our peoples.
Ladies and gentlemen, during today’s consultations, we had the opportunity to search for ways of further enhancing our actions, beyond the existing areas of cooperation.
On energy issues which are one of the main pillars of the trilateral partnership, we agreed that the discovery of hydrocarbons in our region can – and should – work as a catalyst for wider regional cooperation, thus contributing to prosperity and stability in Eastern Mediterranean. I believe it is important that, apart from the cooperation between the three states in the gas sector, the private sector is, also, undertaking significant initiatives that will further enhance the energy plans of Greece, Egypt and the Republic of Cyprus.
Another issue addressed at the Summit was the dimensions of the migratory flows phenomenon. We agreed on the need for close cooperation, not only between our countries, but also the need of the effective involvement of the European Union, since the problem is not confined to the countries of the region but extends and threatens the cohesion of the European Union.
In the context of common will to combat illegal immigration, we agreed to broaden our cooperation by implementing specific operational measures.
Our trilateral cooperation has been expanded both to the area of information technology and communications. We are pleased to announce today the launch of the Innovation Cooperative Network, which marks the cooperation of the three countries in technology, information and communications. We firmly believe that it will act as a platform for strengthening networking, but also for linking innovation and business ecosystems to our countries. Our ultimate goal is to promote and strengthen entrepreneurship, research and development for the benefit of the economy of the three countries.
Another important objective is that, through joint actions, we safeguard the cultural heritage of our countries, based on the Council of Europe Convention on offences related to cultural heritage, which was adopted during the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.
In addition, we added to the agenda of today’s Summit a series of new areas of action to strengthen our cooperation, such as the field of tourism, which is an important pillar of the economies of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt. We proceeded with the signing of the trilateral cooperation protocol, which refers to the implementation of joint actions to promote tourism in the region.
With regard to the environment, an issue of concern to us and following the outcome of the trilateral ministerial meeting in May, we exchanged views on joint actions. In this framework, in early 2018, a business forum on waste management, which is one of the areas of priority, will be held in Nicosia.
A new area of cooperation decided today is the exploitation of the expatriates, of Diaspora and through concrete initiatives and actions, it was agreed to establish a common strategic approach so that the rights or demands of our countries are jointly promoted by the expatriates to the governments of the countries where they reside.
Ladies and gentlemen, at the same time, and bearing in mind that today’s Summit takes place at a particular time for the wider Middle East region, we had the opportunity to exchange views on how, through joint actions, we can contribute to enhancing security, but also to ensure peace and stability in Eastern Mediterranean. In this framework, we exchanged views on the situation in Lebanon and the need to help, through synergies, maintain the security and stability in our friend country.
We also discussed the peace process in the Middle East, expressing our support for the international community’s efforts to revive the peace process and the role that important regional actors such as Egypt and the Arab League can play in this direction.
Regarding the situation in Syria, we expressed the need to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the country, as well as our full support for the ongoing UN initiative.
As expected, the Cyprus problem could not have been excluded from the agenda of the Summit. I informed my counterparts about the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, firmly stating the Turkey’s insistence on unacceptable claims, such as the maintenance of guarantee and invasive rights, the retention of troops in the process of evolving. Although an attempt was made in Crans-Montana to resolve the Cyprus problem, the persistence of Turkey was the key for the unfortunate result of failure.
Finally, I would like to say having the opportunity and I want to emphasize, that this is not the last chance, because we firmly state, as I have also said to the Secretary-General, that we are determined to engage in a dialogue as long as we are properly prepared and know that at a new Summit for Cyprus all intentions are known.
I would like to express my gratitude and sincere appreciation to our dear friend, El Sisi, President of Egypt, and our friend, Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, for their long-term support to our efforts to end the occupation and the reunification of Cyprus.
With our friend, President Sisi and our friend Prime Minister Alexis, we also discussed the Egyptian relations with the European Union and the need for further deepening, through the rapid implementation of the EU-Egypt Partnership priorities. We are convinced that Egypt is a strategic partner for the European Union in key areas. Cyprus and Greece, we assured our friend, President Sisi, that we will continue to help Egypt within the European Union.
Mr. President, friend, El Sisi, dear friend Alexis, once again I would like to thank you for the constructive discussions, the creative consultations with your presence here, which confirms the joint commitment to further strengthening relations between us and the trilateral partnership.
Thank you very much, once again, and I hope that the next Summit will bear more results than the present Summit, although I have to admit that we see results captured by concrete measures beneficial to our peoples.
Thank you for your presence here, I wish the best to my friend Egypt and my sister country Greece. If I was saying mother Greece I would be mistaken by those who invoke mother Turkey. And because we want independence, dexterity, I want to respect the statutes. And the statutes are the brotherly relationship, either with Greece or with Turkey, but also with respect to the Republic of Cyprus. Thank you very much.
Abdel Fattah El Sisi: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Prime Minister. Once again, I would like to thank my dear friend, President, Nikos Anastasiades, for the warm hospitality and welcome. And I repeat what a great pleasure it is for me to meet again with the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, at the 5th Summit.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the trilateral partnership between our countries aims at developing economic cooperation. However, I can ensure that this partnership, since its launch in Cairo in November 2014, is now one of the most important pillars of security and stability in Eastern Mediterranean. It is not the time to repeat our historical links, but I wish to emphasize on this partnership which aims at preserving the role of our countries in the future of stability, security and prosperity of our peoples.
At today’s Summit, we referred to the development of our cooperation, project follow-up and new areas of cooperation, providing new jobs for young people in our countries, expecting to bear tangible results in this framework of cooperation. There are many promising areas, such as energy, waste management and this ensures the conservation of the natural wealth and property of these generations.
Egypt was the second homeland for Greeks and Cypriots. In Egypt we can dedicate a week to restore the “bridge”, in January 2018, where Greeks and Cypriots who used to live in Egypt can visit for a week and visit the places where they lived or visited.
Ladies and gentlemen, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece are consistent in making efforts to restore security in the Eastern Mediterranean and addressing the problems that this region faces. As I discussed yesterday, with the President, Anastasiades, the Palestinian and the Cypriot remain key issues for the region. While there are crises that rise, such as in Libya and Syria, where we will make efforts to uphold International Law, to support these peoples to overcome various difficulties.
Terrorism remains a great danger to all mankind, so it is imperative that all countries make use of all the possibilities to combat terrorism, ensuring human rights and the right to protecting their lives. In this framework, we continue to discuss about the best ways to tackle irregular immigration, a result of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where it is essential to address social indigenous factors and address security.
Finally, I would like to thank once again the President, Nicos Anastasiades, the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, and I look forward to our next meeting for further cooperation and stability in our region. Thank you very much.
Alexis Tsipras: It is a great pleasure to be here again in Cyprus in the framework of this trilateral partnership. A partnership which is now an institution, as this is the 5th Summit. An institution, I would say, that promotes security, stability, cooperation, and prosperity, in a very fragile region, as we all know, in a region of instability over the last period, as Southeastern Mediterranean is.
There is no doubt that we are in a difficult period, both for the Middle East and for Europe. And, of course, our region, the region in which this joint effort of the three countries takes place, is at the crossroads of this great tension that we witness in both the Middle East and Europe.
In this environment, I would say, we share a common goal. To take advantage of the challenges ahead, because, beyond tension, opportunities are opening and, at the same time, we play a constructive role in relieving tensions and finding constructive solutions through promoting cooperation and peace in the wider region.
In this sense, I think we have many significant prospects ahead of us, as a pillar of stability, I repeat, in the region. Significant prospects, especially in the areas of economy, energy, transport, tourism, but also security and defense.
We had the opportunity to monitor the progress of our efforts since our previous meeting. Therefore, today, with great pleasure we can inaugurate the creation of the emblematic olive grove in Egypt, achieved by the transfer of 1,500 olive trees from Greece. The olive tree is a symbol of friendship and cooperation. It is, also, a symbol of friendship and cooperation of our joint efforts.
Also, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, based in Egypt, but with branches in Greece and Cyprus. Innovation, entrepreneurship means that we emphasize on young people and hence emphasis on the future.
At the same time, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of cruise, which I believe will have multiplier benefits to tourism, the promotion of our ports and, of course, the promotion of our monuments and culture. Let’s not forget that we represent two very important, perhaps the most important, ancient civilizations in the world. We are successors of two very important cultures and this is a heavy burden and we must make good use of it in the most positive way possible.
At the same time, we decided today to enhance our energy cooperation. I believe it is of strategic importance, the cooperation of the three countries in the field of energy, both in the transport of hydrocarbons, but also in the electrical interconnection between our countries. In a sense, I would say that our cooperation is the bridge between Europe and Africa. And the strategic project, the EuroAfrica Interconnector, can connect the North African market with Europe through Crete and Cyprus. And in this sense, I would say that we offer significant prospects, and Egypt can become an attractive investment destination regarding renewable energy, for instance in the field of solar energy, which is naturally very friendly to the environment, and this is something we all need. But, I think this will bring our countries, our economies closer, but also the two continents closer.
I would not want to overlook, how important our cooperation is, and the initiative, I would say, the Greek-Egyptians to visit Alexandria, one of the most historic sites of Hellenism in the Mediterranean. And I would like to point out, that this action is part of the decisions made in the past for close cooperation.
Allow me, before I close, to make some more general comments on our common approach to what we have previously called “challenges ahead of us at a regional level”. Because this trilateral cooperation, which became an institution, succeeds – and this is why it became an institution – because it is based on a series of axes that signify our common perception, our common views on important issues concerning this critical area in which our peoples live.
The first pillar concerns our common understanding of International Law. The need to respect International Law. Mutual respect for the promotion of our interests, but also for resolving our differences. This is particularly important for us as well as for the wider region. I would say, because it is a model of cooperation that we want to bring to the neighboring countries as well, the countries of the region, because from the first moment we said that we are not a union of forces against third parties. On the contrary, a model of cooperation that we would wish other countries in the region to follow.
In this context, we firmly support the sustainable solution of the Cyprus problem, based on UN decisions and the status of Cyprus as a member state of the European Union, with a united federal Cyprus with no guarantees and occupation troops for the benefit of all Cypriot people.
At the same time, we firmly support a fair solution to the Palestinian issue. I welcome Egypt’s really positive role in securing intra-Palestinian reconciliation, which I believe against many negative messages, lately, can send a positive signal in the search for a viable solution, which means, at the same time, re-launching credible talks and of course in the direction of establishing an independent, united and viable Palestinian state, living peacefully and securely alongside Israel.
The second issue which I want to emphasize, beyond our common understanding of international law, we also share a common understanding of the need to combat terrorism, on the basis of the decisions of the UN and the European Union. The Egyptian people have suffered a lot from terrorism. The international community, as well as Europe, are now facing the threat. The international community needs to upgrade its efforts for collective and coordinated action through enhanced, reliable and timely exchange of information as well as by blocking the sources of funding and equipment of various terrorist groups.
The third point I want to emphasize is that we, Greece and Cyprus, in the spirit I expressed, are working hard so that European Union can play a more active role in international and regional developments, to contribute to peace and stability in the region, in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon, and Yemen.
Finally, all three countries are developing actions. We in the European Union, Egypt in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. And I think this is very encouraging, because we are, also, a channel of communication, if you wish, between these important Organizations, but also a channel of mutual support.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between our countries Greece and Egypt for the transfer of expertise enables us to cooperate closely on European Union issues. A partnership that should focus on recognizing Egypt’s important role in meeting international challenges, such as the Migration issue, in ensuring peace and stability in the region, and in supporting the Egyptian government in promoting and completing reforms, both democratic reforms, in the social field, and in the economic field, reforms that are often difficult but necessary for the development and modernization of the economic framework.
Greece always makes every effort to be a reliable partner and mediator in the region. Indicative of the excellent relations we have is that Greece represents Egypt in Qatar after the crisis in the Arabian Gulf.
With these thoughts, I would like to say once again that this institution of cooperation is well progressing and this cooperation is deepening. In the future it can be extended even to attract other members. Besides, Greece and Cyprus have consistently established triangular partnerships with key partners and countries in the region, beyond Egypt, with Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine.
Therefore, I will be delighted to be the host at the 6th Summit of Greece-Cyprus-Egypt in Crete island in 2018. So, in Crete, to have the pleasure, all to share the pleasure, to see more steps, essential steps in all areas to be taken in order to deepen this strategic partnership. I warmly thank President Anastasiades for the hospitality he provides here in beautiful Nicosia.