Tri­par­tite deal clinched

Greece, Cyprus and Egypt agree to work to­gether on en­ergy, mar­itime zones

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece, Cyprus and Egypt will step up en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion, the lead­ers of the three coun­tries agreed in Cairo on Satur­day in their first ever tri­par­tite talks.

“This was a meet­ing that all three of us owed to his­tory,” said Greek Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras after meet­ing with Cypriot leader Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fattah el-Sisi. Sa­ma­ras stressed Egypt’s lead­ing role in the Arab world and said that he and Anas­tasi­ades would act as “am­bas­sadors for Egypt with the Euro­pean Union.”

The main fo­cus of the meet­ing was the sign­ing of the Cairo Dec­la­ra­tion, which com­mits the three coun­tries to in­creas­ing ef­forts to mark out their mar­itime zones as they be­lieve the dis­cov­ery of hy­dro­car­bons could help co­op­er­a­tion in the East­ern Mediter­ranean.

“To this di­rec­tion, we place em­pha­sis on the ec­u­meni­cal character of the UN Con­ven­tion of the Law of the Sea and we have de­cided to speed up the ne­go­ti­a­tions for the de­lim­i­ta­tion of mar­itime zones, where this has not been de­fined yet,” the dec­la­ra­tion states.

The agree­ment also calls on Turkey to re­spect Cyprus’s right to an ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone (EEZ) after a Turk­ish re­search ves­sel en­tered the area last month.

“We have stressed the im­por­tance of the re­spect of the sov­er­eign rights of the Repub­lic of Cyprus in its EEZ and we urged Turkey to ter­mi­nate all seis­mic ex­plo­ration within the mar- itime zones of Cyprus and to avoid sim­i­lar ac­tiv­i­ties in the fu­ture,” the dec­la­ra­tion says, with the lead­ers adding calls for a re­uni­fi­ca­tion deal.

Anas­tasi­ades stressed that the Cairo Dec­la­ra­tion is not aimed against any coun­try and called on all the states in the re­gion to share in a “common vi­sion” based around the use of hy­dro­car­bons.

Nev­er­the­less, Ankara is un­happy about the agree­ment and has al­ready made its com­plaints known to Athens, Cairo and Wash­ing­ton. US Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den is due to travel to Ankara on Novem­ber 21. A week later, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venizelos is due to meet Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu in Ankara a week later.

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