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21-12-2018 13:31

Joint Declaration of the 5th Israel-Cyprus-Greece Trilateral Summit, held in Beersheba, Israel, on December 20, 2018

We, Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus and Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, having met today, December 20th, 2018, in Beersheba, the capital of the Negev desert and a developing center for excellence in cyber security and innovation, express our commitment to continue strengthening the cooperation between our countries in the framework of a trilateral partnership encompassing an ever-increasing number of areas of common interest and, in the process, contribute to the promotion of peace, stability, security and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region.

As has been underlined on previous occasions, this partnership is not exclusive in design or nature, and our three countries remain committed to welcoming other like-minded parties in our efforts to create and advance synergies and collaboration, to the benefit of our countries and peoples, as well as to our region, which today is facing multiple challenges.

Since our fourth trilateral Summit, which took place in Nicosia on May 8th, 2018, and based on the guidelines established in the four previous respective joint declarations, significant and praiseworthy progress has been achieved in various spheres of cooperation. Nevertheless, much potential remains untapped and we wish to maximise on it for the benefit of our countries.

Taking into consideration the extent and volume of our growing cooperation, we agreed that it is imperative to form a trilateral mechanism that would allow us to consult, coordinate and follow up in a systematic manner on decisions and initiatives decided in our various tripartite meetings, whether at the summit level or other forums of our partnership.

Following the proposal of the Republic of Cyprus, we have agreed to establish a Permanent Secretariat to be based in Nicosia.

In our continuous efforts to render our trilateral cooperation ever more pertinent and beneficial to our respective societies, we have decided to focus this 5th trilateral Summit on increasing the cooperation in the fields of Innovation and Cyber Security as tools for development, and for improving the wellbeing of our societies.

We note with satisfaction our meeting and visit today at the operational installation of the Israel National Cyber Directorate, in addition to the earlier visits and meetings, between the DG of the INCD and the Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and Greece during their visit in Israel last September 19th meetings aiming to enhance our cooperation in cyber security.

Recognizing the increasing dependency of our economies in the cyber domain and the Internet, noting the exponential growth of cyber threats, and the possible harm to our societies and economies, we affirm the importance of a National Cyber Security Strategy and Structure, for the Robustness and the Resilience of our nations. We pledge to cooperate on these issues, and to share information, knowledge, and best practices relevant to cyber security.  We desire to promote open, free, secure and peaceful use of cyberspace, which drives economic growth, protects national security and promotes international stability.

In this context, we note with satisfaction the signing of the trilateral MOU on Cyber Security Cooperation between our respective national agencies as well as the designation of points of contact, which will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of this MoU.

Recognizing the importance of mutual benefits deriving from our cooperation in all sectors of economic activity, we continued our common efforts to promote, facilitate, improve and strengthen our economic growth interconnection. We reiterate the importance we attach to promoting investment, innovation, and research between our nations. 

Today, we were pleased to meet the participants of the first trilateral seminar held by MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, titled "Innovation Road Map: How to Scale Up Your Start Up". At the same time, we are pleased to initiate a trilateral internship program for young entrepreneurs from both Cyprus and Greece, who will complete internships in Israeli Hi-Tech companies.

We have instructed our respective Innovation authorities to promote and implement a common working plan that will enhance our cooperation in this important field.

We highly appreciate the event of the 1st Trilateral Business Forum that took place yesterday in Tel Aviv with the presence of 250 businessmen and women. The forum, that was initiated by the Israeli, Greek and Cypriot Chambers of Commerce, was a result of the Chambers trilateral MOU signed in the Nicosia summit in May 2018.

Correspondingly, we welcome the continuation of today’s productive meeting between the Presidents of the respective Chambers and encourage the chambers role to bridge our countries business communities in all sectors.  In the domain of Industry, we acknowledge the importance of mutual benefits deriving from our cooperation in promoting sectors such as pharmaceuticals and reiterate our willingness to further promote the exchange of information, know – how and best practices among the respective competent bodies, in order to enhance business innovation and improve competitiveness.  In this respect, taking into account the significant impact of pharmaceuticals’ sector for the economy and job creation, we encourage the promotion of trilateral cooperation including through joint research and business innovation programs.

In the field of Energy, we reconfirm our support and commitment for the implementation of the East-Med Pipeline Project, a project that represents a viable and strategic option of common interest, both to our countries and to the European Union.

We are pleased to note the sides have reached an agreement on the text of the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that would facilitate the promotion and implementation of the Project. The text will now be forwarded to the fourth partner Italy and thereafter to the European Commission for necessary review. We look forward to the signing of the Agreement as soon as possible.

We also confirm our interest in the Euro Asia Interconnector Project. In this regard, we encourage the conclusion of the remaining studies.

We support collaboration in the areas of renewable energy, fuel alternatives and electric vehicles, and in particular encouraging innovation and joint pilot projects.  

We reiterate our full support and solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus in exercising its sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone. We express strong opposition to any attempt to violate these rights in a manner that will endanger the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, violate international law, or contradict good neighborly relations. We welcome the meeting of our Energy Ministers held today in the margins of the 5th trilateral summit.

The parties acknowledge the fact that ICT is permeating all aspects of social and economic life of citizens and business in their respective countries and agree to support cooperation and the expansion of collaboration in the field of Communications and Information technologies.

We agree to approach the reduction of the roaming tariffs and the Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) as a high priority matter and express our desire to arrange for a joint professional TAIEX workshop on international roaming regulations, within the framework of the European Union, with the aim of drafting a plan for regional roaming agreement.

We agree to further develop collaboration in the field of Smart and Sustainable Cities (SSCs) and Smart Homes and note with satisfaction that our respective Ministers signed today a MoU on the matter for the purpose of enhancing cooperation and conducting study visits with the participation of national experts.

We agree to establish a joint steering committee, headed by our respective ministers, for exchanging views in the field of communications and information technologies, and with the aim of discussing solutions and increasing the capacity to address the main challenges facing each country.

We confirm our intention to discuss the possibility of establishing a hub for mail packages in an agreed location, following consultation with postal operators and the regulatory authorities of the three countries.

The Parties shall cooperate in the areas of water resource management, protection and usage of ground water, exploration, technologies relating to water production and use, water recycling, wastewater treatment and quality requirements; and Desalination.

In the field of Environmental Protection, we acknowledge the intensive cooperation between our ministries of the environment at ministerial and professional levels in particular in the areas of climate change, water and wastewater management, and protection of the marine environment in the Mediterranean. We recognize that this collaboration, which includes, inter-alia, the exchange of information, know-how, and best practices, is of mutual benefits and could promote and strengthen the sustainable development and economic growth of our countries.

We recall signing of the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan in May 2018 and look forward to its early entry into force. The Implementation Agreement, prepared with the support of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, reflects our willingness to further enhance our cooperation and tackle potential sources of pollution in a proactive manner.

In this context, we note with satisfaction the first preparatory meeting of the National Operational Experts responsible for the implementation of the sub-regional marine oil pollution contingency plan that was held on December 6 in Larnaca.

We also commend the trilateral workshop on compensation for oil pollution damage that was organized back to back with the mentioned meeting by Cyprus and the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean (REMPEC) under the Barcelona Convention with the support of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC), the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF) and the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs (IGP&I).

We note the willingness of the Israeli Ministry of the Environment to present its "Cyber Security Methodology" for industrial processes, including hazardous materials use, detailing a cyber-risk assessment file for organizations and factories, and evaluating the potential hazards to human life or health as a basis for sharing methodologies and policies for the benefit of our three countries.

We wish to promote and strengthen cooperation in the field of Agriculture and we note with satisfaction the discussion that took place and focused on options for cooperation on basic and applied research within EU strategic research priorities.

We welcome the decision to hold in Israel during the very coming months, at the Volcani Center, the Agricultural Research Organization of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, a three days joint workshop, aimed to design the specific and detailed areas for the trilateral cooperation.  Common areas of interest were discussed, such as promotion of agricultural products of high quality and safety; food safety issues; preservation and technology on agricultural products of plant and animal origin; livestock production; sustainable management of water; marginal water usage in agriculture; desalinated, saline and treated wastewater; inland and coastal fishery, off shore fish farming; use of biological pest control agents in agriculture; and Precision Agriculture as an essential tool for a sustainable agricultural production.

We also welcome the decision to enhance cooperation in research and in sharing of know-how in the field of Agricultural Meteorology, including tailor made high-resolution forecasts for farmers; supplying them consultation and  guidance services; warning them from severe climate conditions; advising on crop suitability to local conditions, irrigation regimes according to evaporation, climate change and its effect on different agricultural activities and developing online data base processing mechanisms.  

In the field of Meteorology, We recognize the vital importance of early warnings and accurate forecasts for the preparedness to regional severe weather events, and the importance in establishing national climate-change adaptation plans based on sound scientific research, and the new possibilities offered by recent technological developments. We also note with satisfaction today's meeting between our three directors of national meteorological services which laid the foundation for trilateral cooperation in this evolving field.   

Recognizing the vital importance of our cooperation in the area of Health, we welcome the decision to hold in Israel, in 2019, a trilateral Ministerial meeting in order to promote mutual programs in nutrition, digital health, electronic health records, and emergency preparedness models. We also note the intention to further promote cooperation on healthy lifestyle, particularly healthy nutrition and improvement of dietary habits.

We recognize the sizeable significance of Tourism to our respective economies and the great potential for cooperation on joint projects and synergies. We reiterate our commitment to strengthen the collaboration of our competent authorities, in conjunction with the private sector and other stakeholders, in an effort to increase the influx of tourists from third countries to our region, through, inter alia, encouraging the development of joint thematic tourism products addressed to long haul markets. Furthermore, we welcome the decision of our respective Ministries to promote Digital Initiatives in Tourism and other Travel-Tech initiatives, and further actions to motivate and accelerate innovation and start-ups in the field of Travel – Tech.

We consider that the use of Space technologies and applications is a catalyst for a wide range of activities and offers multiple possibilities for exploitation. The countries will cooperate in the Space sector according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Nicosia (May 2018). We agree to mobilize the appropriate entities, in order to, further develop the collaboration in the field of sustainable environment through remote sensing and earth observation space applications.

We welcome the exploration of possibilities of strengthening cooperation in the field of Education and Higher Education, between the higher education and research institutions in our respective countries, in different areas of expertise and know-how.  The sides will examine the possibility of a meeting between the Ministers of Education in order to discuss these and other pertinent issues

We note with satisfaction that the sided reached an agreed MοU on cooperation in the field of Education for 2019-2022, that will be signed in the near future.

Acknowledging the importance of new modes of communication offered to us by digital technology, we remain committed to realizing the positive potential of the tools of digital diplomacy in our trilateral foreign policy cooperation. We have decided to enhance our collaboration in the practice of diplomacy in the digital era and to promote a safe, vibrant and open internet. The competent ministries will coordinate common projects, as well as training in the sphere of digital communications.

We have also agreed to extend our cooperation in the field of Youth through the exchange of good practices, the elimination of stereotypes, the realization of common activities in youth sector. The relevant national authorities are encouraged to agree and sign a Memorandum of Understanding on trilateral cooperation in Youth.

Underlining our commitment to cooperate for the protection of cultural heritage, including underwater cultural heritage in the three countries.

We call for further steps, regionally and globally, to prevent and prohibit the illicit trade in cultural properties and promote cooperation in restoring illicitly trafficked cultural properties. Furthermore, we encourage joint scientific research on archaeology, conservation and cultural heritage, jointly conducted by governmental and academic research institutions of the three states, according to their national legislation.

Recognizing and appreciating the value added by the Parliamentary dimension of the trilateral cooperation, which reinforces the democratic legitimacy provides for the direct representation of our respective peoples in of this cooperation, we welcome the continued meetings by the Presidents and Committees of the Parliaments of Cyprus, Greece and Israel. These meetings further advance our parliamentary cooperation, including in matters pertaining to water resources and entrepreneurship, foreign affairs and defense, research, innovation and education, through parliamentary organs and the use of parliamentary tools. We are committed to providing our support to this cooperation and to fully utilizing its results, while encouraging future trilateral meetings in the parliamentary forum.

In this context, we note with satisfaction the results of the third meeting of the Committees in charge of Foreign Affairs in our respective Parliaments that took place in Athens on November 22, 2018.

We convey our support for the further engagement between our respective diaspora communities and welcome the fourth trilateral meeting of our respective Authorities in Nicosia on December 12, 2018. We welcome the initiative to convene a mission of young leadership of the three Diasporas, to jointly visit the three homeland countries on July 2019. This initiative will be realized in cooperation between the governments and the diaspora organizations. We also welcome the planned meeting of diaspora leaders at the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting in February 2019 in Israel.

We reflect with satisfaction on our strengthening trilateral defence cooperation, which includes strategic dialogue, military cooperation and defence-industrial cooperation. We are pleased with the outcome of the inaugural trilateral defence industries conference which took place on June 2018 and which serves as a precedent for many additional initiatives for enhancing our defence cooperation.

We continue to express our concern for the dangers posed to our wider region by terrorism, violent radicalism, and extremism.

We gave special attention to the security developments in the Middle East and North Africa, especially the conflicts in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.  These have considerable implications on the security situation of the international community as a whole, including Europe and the Middle East.

We reiterate our strong and unequivocal condemnation to all manifestations of terrorism, and we highlight the importance we attach to international cooperation to address this threat.

In that respect, we note with satisfaction the convening of the trilateral counterterrorism-working group on prevention of Terrorist Financing, in Athens on November 29th. Our experts discussed current threats, focusing on legal aspects and regulatory frameworks to deal with terrorist financing.  They also agreed to convene the next working group in Nicosia through 2019.

We reiterate our condemnation of all manifestations of religious intolerance, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, wherever they occur.

Israel and Europe share common values of democracy and the rule of law, as well as deep historical and cultural bonds.  

We reiterate our steadfast commitment to the enhancement of the EU-Israel bilateral relations in areas of common interest, including cooperation on economic, political, strategic, security, innovation, and regional challenges. We underline the need to promote cooperation in the framework of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, fully operationalizing it, including the conclusion of Partnership Priorities within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy, and convening the EU-Israel Association Council.

Acknowledging the significance and relevance of our ongoing collaboration within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean institutions, such as the Union for the Mediterranean and the Anna Lindh Foundation, we agree to further enhance this cooperation with the aim of contributing to the promotion of peace, security, stability, and prosperity in our wider region.

We express our hope that the resumption of meaningful negotiations of the MEPP will result in a just and viable solution, which will also take into account the legitimate security concerns of the State of Israel. In this regard, we reaffirm our support for the right of Israel to live in security and peaceful co-existence with all its neighbours, including the Palestinians and stress our opposition to any attempt to challenge or undermine Israel's legitimacy.

We highlight the special significance of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and recall the inherent and deep historical bonds of the Jewish people to its historical homeland.

We express our full support to the ongoing efforts for the resumption of the negotiation process, under the Good Office Mission of the UN Secretary-General, for a just, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem, in line with International and EU Law, the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. We commend the efforts of the President and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to reach a solution that will reunify the island and safeguard Cyprus’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, without guarantees from third countries or the presence of foreign troops in Cyprus. We underline that a comprehensive settlement would not only benefit the people of Cyprus, but also significantly contribute to the peace and stability of the region.

We reject any denial of Israel’s right to exist and express serious concern regarding the threats of terrorism, extremism, and weapons proliferation to Israel’s security.

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, in their capacity as coordinators of the various issues examined today, will continue their consultations on a regular basis in order to monitor and guide the progress achieved in the various fields, as well as to determine new avenues of cooperation.

We agree that the next trilateral Summit will be held in Greece in 2019.