Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and his Egyptian counterpart Shameh Shoukry discussed in Cairo, on Tuesday, ainter alia, the trilateral cooperation between Cyprus, Egypt and Greece as well as how to further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
The meeting took place in the context of a two day working visit Kasoulides is paying Egypt, an official press release issued here today says.
“During the deliberations with the Egyptian Minister, bilateral relations were reviewed with the aim of promoting projects of mutual interest and further implementing bilateral agreements on a wide range of sectors, such as energy, agriculture, defence and security, and investments,” it notes.
They further reviewed “the preparations for the Egypt-Greece-Cyprus Trilateral Summit, which will take place in Egypt in October, and exchanged views on regional matters and the EU – Egypt relations,” the press release adds.
The previous tripartite meeting between Greece, Egypt and Cyprus was held in Athens last December and had resulted in setting up a permanent consultation and cooperation mechanism between the three countries to be coordinated by the Foreign Ministries.
In addition, Kasoulides briefed his Egyptian counterpart on the course of the ongoing negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, especially as Egypt holds a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the 2016-2017 term. He “expressed Cyprus’ gratitude to Egypt for its historically consistent position of principles on the Cyprus problem in the Organization for Islamic Cooperation and in the UN Security Council.”
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN led talks resumed in May 2015 aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof.
In statements to the Press after the meeting, the Cypriot FM thanked his Egyptian counterpart for the warm welcome, noting that his visit to Cairo has been very productive.
“Indeed, the level of friendship between our countries and peoples is exemplary,” he said.
He further pointed out that “we need to put emphasis on the implementation of joint projects of cooperation; projects on the energy sector; and in the field of agriculture and tourism, which would have a direct positive impact on our economies and on our societies.”
This, he added, was also discussed during the meeting with President Sissi, in view of the forthcoming trilateral meeting of the Heads of State of Egypt, Greece and Cyprus, which will take place in Cairo, in October 2016.
“The commitment of President Sissi to bring investments and jobs to Egypt is commendable, and I have expressed our intention to work closely with the Egyptian authorities towards this aim,” Kasoulides said.
At the meeting with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, a broad range of regional issues were discussed. Minister Kasoulides underlined that Egypt not only is a cornerstone for stability in the region but also is at the forefront of combating terrorism as the country has itself experienced such attacks, the press release says.
In this respect, it adds, “the two Ministers discussed the developments in Libya, with Minister Kasoulides to express Cyprus understanding of Egypt’s legitimate concerns and interest for stability and security in the country.”
They also discussed developments in Syria and the Cypriot Minister expressing the hope that “the US and Russia will resolve certain issues in their bilateral relations so that we will finally see a credible political process, which could end the war and also facilitate the eradication of Daesh and the other terrorist organizations.”
Referring to the ongoing initiatives on the Middle East Peace Process Kasoulides said that Egypt has a crucial role to play in the just and viable resolution of the conflict, with the genuine interests of the Palestinian people being in Egypt’s heart.
Regarding relations between the EU and Egypt, he noted that there is definitely room for improvement and expressed Cyprus commitment to work in order to facilitate progress in the relations between Egypt and the EU.
“I think that this could be a mutually beneficial relationship. Particularly for the Europeans, Egypt remains not only a reliable partner in a region of instability but also a trusted partner with whom Europe can work on many issues,” he said.