Sum­mit not aimed at Turkey, Is­rael visit next

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

For­eign Min­is­ter Ioan­nis Ka­soulides said that the tri­lat­eral sum­mit and dec­la­ra­tion of co­op­er­a­tion by the lead­ers of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece in Cairo on Satur­day is not aimed against Turkey, but rather to es­tab­lish po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic sta­bil­ity in the east­ern Mediter­ranean.

The head of the is­land’s diplo­matic ser­vice, who has been to-ing and fro-ing from Euro­pean to Mid­dle East cap­i­tals in re­cent months, said that the strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion in the mak­ing be­tween the three coun­tries would wel­come sim­i­lar ar­range­ments with other coun­tries in the area as well, hint­ing at Is­rael, Jor­dan and Le­banon.

Ka­soulides said that Turkey’s provo­ca­tions in Cyprus off­shore wa­ters was the rea­son why it would be left out of such a re­gional group­ing, adding that the vi­o­la­tion of the is­land’s ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone (EEZ) by the seis­mic survey ves­sel Bar­baros was also the rea­son why UN-spon­sored Cyprus peace talks had bro­ken off.

The Cairo dec­la­ra­tion, that touched upon a host of sub­jects of mu­tual in­ter­est among the three na­tions, is also ex­pected to speed up the fi­nal de­lin­eation of the common EEZs be­tween the three coun­tries, in a way set­ting out mark­ers for en­ergy and other ac­tiv­i­ties in the east­ern Mediter­ranean.

Cyprus and Egypt have rat­i­fied their common mar­itime bound­aries and are pro­ceed­ing to ex­plore other ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est, such as a po­ten­tial un­der­sea pipe­line that would trans­port fu­ture Cyprus nat­u­ral gas ex­ports to LNG plants in en­ergy-deficit Egypt.

Cyprus and Is­rael have also agreed on their common EEZs, while Le­banon has yet to rat­ify a par­al­lel agree­ment with Cyprus, due to the on­go­ing con­flict in neigh­bour­ing Syria and the spillover ef­fects that are ham­per­ing all po­lit­i­cal progress in Beirut.

Con­clud­ing the EEZ be­tween Greece and Cyprus on the one hand, and Greece and Egypt on the other, is seen as ex­clud­ing Turkey from re­gional af­fairs and re­sources, made worse by Ankara’s stand-off with one­time ally Is­rael and the present gov­ern­ment’s con­tin­ued crit­i­cism of Is­rael’s poli­cies re­gard­ing the Pales­tini­ans.

Turkey, that con­tin­ues to vi­o­late all the sov­er­eign rights of the Repub­lic of Cyprus since 1974, with the bless­ing of its NATO al­lies, has even re­sorted to call­ing for the re­spect of the sov­er­eign rights of Ankara and the break­away Turk­ish Cypriot pup­pet regime in the north of the is­land, through whom it has in­vited Turk­ish oil and gas com­pa­nies to con­sider ex­plo­ration and drilling in other parts of Cyprus wa­ters.

The com­man­der of the Turkey navy was quoted as say­ing on the side­lines of the NATO ex­er­cise Blue Whale that he has or­ders from the Prime Min­is­ter to de­ploy rules of en­gage­ment if his ves­sels come across Is­raeli or Greek navy ships in the east­ern Mediter­ranean.

FOR­EIGN MIN­IS­TERS TO MEET

Cyprus Gov­ern­ment Spokesman Ni­cos Christodoulides said on Sun­day after the first an­nual memo­rial ser­vice for the late Pres­i­dent Glaf­cos Clerides, that the lead­ers of the three states have ap­pointed their Min­is­ters of For­eign Af­fairs in charge for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the joint dec­la­ra­tion, which clearly ex­plains the frame­work within which this co­op­er­a­tion will take place. He added that the first step will be the joint meet­ing of the Min­is­ters of En­ergy of the three coun­tries on 24 Novem­ber.

As re­gards to the bi­lat­eral di­men­sion of the re­la­tions with Egypt, Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades held “a very good and pro­duc­tive meet­ing with Pres­i­dent (Ab­del Fattah Al) Sisi” and the Min­is­ter of En­ergy of Egypt will visit Cyprus on Novem­ber 23 for dis­cus­sions with his Cypriot coun­ter­part.

The spokesman said that Pres­i­dent Sisi has ac­cepted an invitation to visit Cyprus in the near fu­ture, while adding that the prepa­ra­tion for a new tri­lat­eral sum­mit be­tween Cyprus, Greece and Is­rael is un­der way. He pointed out that “right now, what we have be­fore us is the visit by the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic to Jerusalem on 2 De­cem­ber.”

AL SISI: HIS­TORIC BONDS

Speak­ing at the Cairo press con­fer­ence on Satur­day, Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fattah Al Sisi stated that the sum­mit con­fer­ence fore­saw the strength­en­ing of the his­tor­i­cal and bonds among the three coun­tries.

He added that “Egypt hosted a sum­mit meet­ing of the three coun­tries, in­au­gu­rat­ing a new era of tri­par­tite co­op­er­a­tion, which started a year ago, strength­en­ing this con­struc­tive co­op­er­a­tion with two of the coun­tries that truly sup­ported Egypt’s po­lit­i­cal course for the restora­tion of democ­racy and they fully un­der­stand the ex­tra­or­di­nary events that are tak­ing place in the coun­try.”

He also pointed out the co­op­er­a­tion of the three coun­tries in the in­vest­ment and trade sec­tors and added that their views coin­cide com­pletely.

“We also ex­changed views about the sit­u­a­tion and the crises in the re­gion of the Mid­dle East, in par­tic­u­lar about the Pales­tinian is­sue and the ef­forts for peace, as well as the de­vel­op­ments in Syria and Iraq, about the ef­fort to com­bat ter­ror­ism and ways to strengthen th­ese ef­forts, and about the sit­u­a­tion in Libya. Also ex­am­ined were the ef­forts by Greece and Cyprus to en­hance and support the con­tacts be­tween Egypt and the EU” as well as the tri­par­tite co­op­er­a­tion in other in­ter­na­tional for a,” Pres­i­dent Sisi added.

ANAS­TASI­ADES: FOUR PIL­LARS

spe­cial

On his part, Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades said that the tri­par­tite co­op­er­a­tion was based on four ba­sic pil­lars: first, po­lit­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion and diplo­matic co­or­di­na­tion both at a re­gional as well as an in­ter­na­tional level; sec­ond, the sub­stan­tive and prac­ti­cal strength­en­ing of projects in sec­tors such as that of en­ergy, the econ­omy, com­merce, tourism, cul­ture and shipping; third, the cre­ation of a joint front to ad­dress the dan­gers from ter­ror­ism, xeno­pho­bia and sec­tar­i­an­ism; and, fourth, for the tri­par­tite co­op­er­a­tion to be­come a model of con­struc­tive and ben­e­fi­cial re­gional co­op­er­a­tion in a common volatile re­gion.

“Con­se­quently, we in­vite the states of the re­gion that share our vi­sion to par­tic­i­pate in joint ef­forts,” the Cypriot leader said, adding that the ‘Cairo Dec­la­ra­tion’ also ex­pressed the support for Pres­i­dent Sisi’s ef­forts and that of the Egyp­tian peo­ple for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Road Map and for the ef­fort for eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing the com­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions that will mark the cul­mi­na­tion of the process for the democrati­sa­tion of the coun­try.”

“More­over, the re­cent events in our re­gion un­der­line the need for sta­bil­ity in Egypt, be­cause it is a coun­try with great in­flu­ence in the Arab world that can im­pact on the ef­forts to ad­dress the re­gional chal­lenges, and ter­ror­ism in par­tic­u­lar, wher­ever this is man­i­fested, whether in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Le­banon and else­where,” Anas­tasi­ades said.

SA­MA­RAS: DIPLO­MATIC EF­FORTS

Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras of Greece con­grat­u­lated Pres­i­dent Sisi on his ini­tia­tive for the tri­par­tite meet­ing. “It is a meet­ing that we owed to his­tory,” he added.

“Greece and Cyprus are mem­bers of the EU; Egypt is a coun­try with the largest in­flu­ence in the Arab world. That is why the ex­change of views on the is­sues of Syria, Libya, Iraq and the sorely tried prob­lem of Pales­tine were very pro­duc­tive and use­ful.”

He pointed out that “Greece and Cyprus at­tach great im­por­tance to the pro­tec­tion of the Christian pop­u­la­tions that lately face the dan­ger of been ex­pelled from their an­ces­tral homes.”

“We also gave spe­cial weight to the is­sues of en­ergy se­cu­rity and the co­op­er­a­tion on the hy­dro­car­bon is­sues. It is a sec­tor on which we will co­op­er­ate closely for the ben­e­fit of our peo­ple and for the ben­e­fit of the en­ergy sup­plies of the en­tire EU,” Sa­ma­ras said, adding that “in the re­la­tion­ship among the three of us,

Greece and Cyprus will support Egypt as her am­bas­sadors in the EU. Be­cause the guid­ing prin­ci­ple for the prob­lems in the re­gion must be the sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity and the best am­bas­sador of sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in the re­gion is Egypt.”

“The EU must in fact support Egypt in her cur­rent great ef­fort and to support her both fi­nan­cially and morally. Greece and Cyprus will help in ev­ery way in this di­rec­tion and we con­sider as crit­i­cal our me­di­a­tion and our role in this new re­la­tion­ship,” the Greek PM con­cluded.

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