ATHENS: The leaders of Cyprus, Greece, and Jordan sent Turkey a firm message that all unilateral measures or actions in Cyprus that are not in line with relevant UN resolutions and international law or undermine efforts for a peaceful solution through negotiations, must cease.
They also emphasized that “a peaceful, stable and prosperous Mediterranean is a strategic priority of the region.”
The joint statement was issued late on Wednesday following a trilateral summit in Athens between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, and King Abdullah II of Jordan.
They called for respect to the sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction each state has over its maritime zones in accordance with international law.
The three leaders focused on the Cyprus problem, including the latest developments in Varosha, the fenced-off area of Famagusta, as well as the presidential statement issued by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the provocative partial opening of the abandoned suburb by the Turkish side.
The three leaders stressed their support for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem, based on the relevant UNSC resolutions and international law. They underlined that a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem will not only benefit the people of Cyprus but also contribute significantly to peace and stability in the region.
Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced in July a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Oct. 8, 2020, the Turkish side initially opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara two days prior.
Both the UN secretary-general and the EU expressed concern, while the UNSC called for the reversal of this course of action. UNSC resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.
The trilateral meeting among Greece, Cyprus, and Jordan was one more piece in the puzzle of regional integration among like-minded countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Diplomatic sources told Arab News that this trilateral scheme could, in the future, expand to include Egypt and Iraq. This was part of a wider regional strategy followed by Athens.
“Greece’s foreign policy aims at fostering regional cooperation through multilateral schemes. Meetings with Jordan and Cyprus are placed in this context. Jordan is a longstanding partner of Greece and friendship is based on historical ties,” said George Tzogopoulos, a senior research fellow at the Center international de formation européenne (CIFE).
“The participation of all three countries in the East Med Gas Forum also outlines a new perspective on energy synergies. Greece values Jordan’s role for relevant stability in the Israeli-Palestinian stand-off and pays close attention to recent high-level meetings between Jordanian and Israeli officials. Turkish-Jordanian relations are also in Athens’ microscope as long as US president Joe Biden’s administration is recalibrating American foreign policy in the Middle East.”
In other developments during the trilateral summit, the three leaders discussed how to further enhance their cooperation in sectors including politics, economy, security, and other fields of mutual interest in the post coronavirus (COVID-19) era. They agreed to resume the sectoral meetings that were suspended due to the pandemic, in order to identify specific plans that could offer opportunities in the framework of the three countries’ strategic partnership.
Mitsotakis, Anastasiadis, and King Abdullah reiterated a strong commitment to counter the common threat of terrorism and violent extremism. They also expressed support to the government in Iraq along with the country’s territorial integrity, stability, and security. They also expressed their commitment to a political solution in Libya and in Syria.