*This article was originally published on egypttoday.com, please see the original story here.
CAIRO – 10 October 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi arrived in Crete Island Wednesday to take part in the sixth tripartite summit encompassing Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus to follow up on what has been achieved within the cooperation framework.
The files discussed by the three leaders include regional threats embodied in terrorism, illegal migration, and recurrent Turkish provocations attempting to violate the sovereignty of the three states by moving its naval forces near hydrocarbon exploration sites located within their territorial waters. That is in addition to holding talks on energy and hydrocarbon discoveries along with other matters of mutual interest.
The heads of the three states witnessed after the summit the signing of cooperation agreements by ministers of their countries in different economic sectors. Thereafter, they held a joint press conference.
Tsipras stated that discussions tackled the necessity of achieving stability in Libya and reaching a permanent solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in Gaza. He added that talks included cooperation in the education sector and potential Greek and Cypriot investments in Egypt’s SCzone (Suez Canal economic zone) as well as the status of Greek citizens living in Egypt.
President Sisi said that the ongoing regional developments dominated the summit. He explained that there is congruence by the three states upon the importance of coexistence concept prioritization along with violence and hatred renouncement by all parties in the Middle East and the Mediterranean to preserve the region from impending dangers.
Sisi added that the talks covered extant crisis in Palestinian territories, Libya, and Syria among others clarifying that the three countries perceive political settlements as key to stop the bloodshed, and undertake reconstruction.
“That eliminates chances seized by extremist and terrorist groups exploiting such crisis to prey on our states and terrorize our peoples backed by the financial, political, and logistic support provided by certain parties that do not hesitate to breach international laws and norms to create presence and influence, and to serve their narrow interests at the expense of the lives and fortunes of peaceful peoples,” the president asserted.
The president held bilateral meetings with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades before the summit to discuss regional affairs as well as opportunities for strengthening economic and trade relations.
Sisi expressed his appreciation of Greek stances towards Egypt during his meeting with Tsipras. The summit kicked off after the president’s meeting with his Cypriot counterpart. Sisi praised Cypriot support for Egypt in regional and international organizations and communities.
On the other hand, Anastasiades expressed his appreciation for Egypt’s support to the “Cypriot cause” in accordance with germane UN resolutions describing Egyptian role as a pillar of stability in the Middle East and counterterrorism efforts. The Cypriot leader hailed the growth of bilateral relations in various domains saying he aspires for further cooperation.
The tripartite summits started in 2014 in the Egyptian capital leading to a maritime demarcation agreement that was signed a year later with the aim of boosting gas production in the three countries.
Turkey has been interfering in block seven where exploration works are taking place in Cypriot waters for not involving the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – only recognized by the Turkish state – in any decisions on the gas rich area. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus splitting the island into two states.
The president is accompanied by a high-profile delegation comprising Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shokry; Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr; Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek al-Molla; Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Talaat; Minister of Migration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram; Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Amr Talaat; Chief of General Intelligence Abbas Kamel.