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31-07-2019 14:55

Statement to the Press by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nikos Christodoulides, on the official visit to Cyprus of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr Sameh Shoukry

It gives me great pleasure to welcome my distinguished colleague and very good friend,Mr Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt and his delegation, to Cyprus.

The Minister’s visit is a shining example of the importance Cyprus and Egypt attach to our fast evolving partnership and demonstrates our commitment to enhance our vibrant relations and our cooperation at a bilateral, trilateral and multilateral level. Our discussions reflect also our common approach on a number of regional and international issues.

Our long history of close friendship, understanding, mutual respect and cooperation has entered a new, even more dynamic phase and our ties in a plethora of areas are deepening and expanding rapidly. I am also particularly pleased to see our business communities and our societies engaging more actively, adding to the vibrancy of our relations.

Today we reviewed our bilateral ties and discussed ways to further advance our cooperation which has already produced considerable results in a number of areas. We gave added focus to our energy cooperation, a game-changer in our wider effort to promote security, stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

One such example is the Egyptian initiative for the establishment of the East Med Gas Forum initiative. Cyprus has supported this initiative from the very beginning and we are very glad that the Forum already enjoys the support of the countries in the region and beyond, and the EU, notably the European Commission. 

As I said, with Egypt we share a common vision for the Eastern Mediterranean. A future of peace, security, stability and prosperity for our countries and our peoples. This was our goal when we decided, together with Greece, to establish our trilateral cooperation. We are actively engaged in establishing synergies in our immediate and wider neighbourhood, working on the basis of a positive agenda that does not exclude and is not aimed against any third country, because we are convinced that this model of cooperation can bring about change and prepare the ground of a peaceful and prosperous future.

We both agree that we have an obligation and responsibility to explore with even more enthusiasm the potential of this positive agenda and provide our trilateral mechanism with the necessary tools to further develop the unquestioned potential and opportunities. This is, in part, a core reason why we decided to establish the Permanent Secretariat which Cyprus is pleased to host.

Egypt is an agent of stability and a core partner in our region and, as such, it plays a key role in resolving conflicts, in combating terrorism and addressing the challenges of our immediate region and beyond.

Today we compared notes at length on some of the most serious and pressing challenges in our region, including the Middle East Peace Process, Syria, Libya and Migration, and I was particularly interested to hear from Minister Shoukry his perspective on these issues.

We also discussed EU-Egypt relations. I reiterated our position that EU-Egypt cooperation is crucial in our efforts to successfully address the common challenges in our region. Cyprus will continue to actively advocate for the strengthening of these relations through a holistic approach focusing on the entire spectrum of our cooperation. In this, Cyprus fully recognizes and appreciates Egypt’s challenges, both internally and externally.

I had of course the opportunity to brief Foreign Minister Shoukry on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem and express our sincere appreciation for Egypt’s firm position in support of our efforts to reach a just, viable and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem and to reunify our country. Egypt is actively engaged during discussions in international fora, including the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. We are grateful for its support and I want to publicly record our appreciation.  

Egypt’s firm stance, solidarity and clear position in support of Cyprus’ sovereignty and sovereign rights is also invaluable, especially taking into consideration recent developments in our Exclusive Economic Zone and particularly the illegal activities and aggressive behaviour of Turkey. Here too, I wish to thank the Minister for Egypt’s clear statement of support following Turkey’s illegal activities.

Once again Sameh, let me warmly welcome you to Cyprus and thank you for your enduring friendship. I look forward to continuing our close collaboration for the further enhancement of Cyprus-Egypt relations, for the benefit of our countries, our peoples, and the region.