A threat against one country is a threat against us all, is the message the leaders of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece sent from Crete to Turkey during the 6th Greece Cyprus Egypt Summit on Wednesday.
Leaders Nikos Anastassiades, Abdel Fatah el- Sissi and Alexis Tsipras examined regional developments, energy and security, regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, economic cooperation, as well as tripartite cooperation in the fields of economy, digital politics and environment issues.
Cyprus and Egypt are both at odds with Turkey over Mediterranean exploration boundaries, while Greece is moving ahead with plans to explore for oil and natural gas in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete.
“We clearly expressed our support for Cyprus in its efforts to exercise its sovereign rights under international law with respect to its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), against any third-country threat,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said after the summit concluded.
Tsipras’ message to Turkey was very clear, especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that neither Cyprus nor Greece should proceed with drilling in the East Mediterranean Sea and in the Aegean without Turkey’s permission
“the importance that this drilling has for the entire Cypriot people, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.”
Tsipras referred to the role of Greece and Cyprus as a regional European pillar of stability and the important role played by Egypt for the entire region.
“It is clear that there can be no solutions for the Palestinian problem and in Libya without Egypt. Balance in the Mediterranean, Middle East and West Africa cannot exist without Egypt. Tackling terrorism and controlling refugee flows from Africa cannot happen without Egypt,” he pointed out.
He especially emphasized Egypt’s role in handling migration, noting the central importance of stability and growth of countries in the region and cooperation between the countries of origin, transit and destination. He said that Greece fully supports the holding of an EU-Arab League summit in Egypt in February. Tsipras also noted the need to start a discussion on establishing strategic EU-Egypt relations that will include support in Egypt of a series of reforms.
Greece and Egypt agreed to proceed with the demarcation of the Exclusive Economic Zone between the two countries towards the end of the year. Cyprus and Egypt have already completed this procedure.
The Foreign Ministers of the three countries sign the agreements and memoranda of cooperation
With a view to improving the effectiveness of the tripartie cooperation, the three leaders agreed to establish a Permanent Secretariat in Nicosia.
The development plans in the energy sector, prompted the environmental group Greenpeace
to write an open letter to the three leaders, urging them to abandon fossil fuel expansion and switch to common initiatives on renewable energy.
But Greece is proud that Crete will soon be an electricity and energy hub in the region.