CAIRO: A tripartite summit was held on Wednesday in the Cypriot capital Nicosia between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades, along with Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis.
The summit, the eighth between the leaders of the three countries, focused on discussing means of cooperation and coordination regarding issues of concern.
Bassam Rady, the spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, said: “The tripartite summit was held to evaluate the development of cooperation among the three countries in various fields, and to follow-up on joint projects currently implemented as part of the trilateral cooperation mechanism.”
Rady added that the summit also sought to “exchange visions on means of facing the challenges in the Middle East region.”
El-Sisi underlined the need to enhance the tripartite cooperation mechanism with Greece and Cyprus, saying: “We have decided to counter acts of provocation and violations in the Middle East.”
He indirectly accused Turkey of committing violations, transferring mercenaries to conflict zones, and blackmailing Europe with the issue of immigration.“We have signed the founding charter of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum,” he added.
Regarding the Syrian crisis, the president said: “We reject any foreign existence on Syrian territories.”
Meanwhile, the Cypriot president stressed that Turkey was causing more tension in the area, jeopardizing regional stability, interfering in the Syrian crisis, and sending mercenaries to Libya and the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Anastasiades said: “We underlined the need to take strong measures against those who support militant and terrorist groups in the region.” He pointed out that the trilateral relations were not against any state, but rather aimed to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East.
He also called on Turkey to respect international laws and not to violate Cypriot sovereignty.
“We discussed means of enhancing tripartite cooperation in various fields especially energy,” he said. “We welcome the establishment of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum,” he added, whilst reiterating the need to stop the flow of illegal immigration via the Mediterranean.
The Cypriot president also described Turkey’s hunt for gas in Greek waters in the Eastern Mediterranean as “illegal.”
Meanwhile Mitsotakis said that the practices of the Turkish leadership were unfair to its people. “We don’t want to exclude Turkey but its practices lead to that action,” he warned.
This is the eighth such tripartite summit between since 2014. It coincides with Greece’s calls on the EU to consider suspending the Customs Union Agreement with Turkey.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias delivered a letter to the European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyito, to consider the measure as a response to Turkey’s repeated violations of the agreement, in addition to its unilateral measures of gas and oil excavations in the Eastern Mediterranean.