New York, September 29, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
Republic of Cyprus, The Arab Republic of Egypt and the Hellenic Republic issued a joint press release following the trilateral meeting of their Foreign Ministers:
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Mr. Nikos Kotzias and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Egypt, H.E. Mr. Sameh Shoukry, held a trilateral meeting today 29 September 2015 in New York. This meeting took place for the third consecutive year.
The Ministers have reaffirmed the mutual commitment of the three governments to this tripartite consultations mechanism and to an enduring partnership and cooperation at the service of peace, stability and prosperity of the eastern Mediterranean, as enshrined in the Joint Declarations issued following the High Level Trilateral Summits of Cairo of 8 November 2014 and Nicosia of 29 April 2015. In this context the Ministers re-affirmed their commitment to constantly work towards enhancing their tripartite consultation at all levels.
The Ministers reviewed the relationship between the European Union and Egypt, noting the mutually beneficial nature of this partnership. They welcomed the willingness of Egypt to engage in closer cooperation with the European Union in various political and economic areas. They agreed on the need for the European Union to recognize the real situation in Egypt, to support Egypt politically and economically and in its fight against terrorism and for further exchanges in the areas of trade, crisis management and on political consultations on regional issues, acknowledging Egypt’s pivotal role for the security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region.
They reviewed developments in the field of fighting international terrorism through concerted, comprehensive and collective action by the international community. In this context they reaffirmed their commitment to the collective international effort to combat Da’esh as well as other terrorist groups and underscored the need to address shortages in the effort to end the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and the provision of financial and military support to terrorist groups.
They agreed on the urgent need to address the refuge crisis and the increased migratory flows as a result of the ongoing turmoil in our neighborhood. They further stressed the need for a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of the problem, especially the resolution of conflicts. The three countries affirmed their commitment to exert every effort at their disposal to address – as a matter of priority- the humanitarian aspect of the crisis by preventing further loss of life at sea in cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, in order to combat the activities of smugglers. They expressed their readiness to contribute towards addressing the humanitarian aspects of the ongoing refugee crisis in cooperation with all countries concerned.
With regard to Syria, they expressed their support to the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy Stefan de Mistura to revive the political process. They also emphasized the need to continue supporting regional countries against spill-over effects of this crisis and extend their support to the Egyptian efforts to facilitate consensus among the Syrian opposition groups with a view of promoting a political solution in the Syrian crisis according to the Geneva Communiqué.
On Libya, they expressed their support to the efforts of the UNSG Special Representative Bernardino León and to the elected parliament and its affiliated government, until the eventual materialization of a holistic national unity government. They expressed deep concern over the security situation in Libya and called once again for the implementation of a counter-terrorist strategy in parallel to the political dialogue and reconciliation process and the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
They expressed their strong support for the legitimate government of Yemen and for the preservation of its unity and territorial integrity. UN-led efforts complemented by the Gulf Cooperation Council are the only way forward on the basis of the relevant Security Council Resolutions. It is imperative to combat extremist and terrorist groups, to ensure the protection of civilians and allow unrestricted access to humanitarian aid for the civilian population.
On Iraq they reaffirmed their support to the government of Iraq in its effort to achieve stability and its fight against terrorism and expressed their full support to the quest of the government and the people of Iraq towards political cohesion, tranquility and peace.
They welcomed the agreement reached by the E3/EU+3 and Iran in Vienna on 14 July 2015 on the nuclear program of Iran, after more than two years of intense and vigorous negotiations which is an important development and stressed the need for its faithful and complete implementation. They expressed their hope that the agreement will be a step towards the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East.
They called for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace settlement in the Middle East based on the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, the establishment of a sovereign, viable and contiguous Palestinian state on the territories occupied since 4 June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and living in peace and security with all its neighbors, in accordance with the positions and initiatives taken by the European Union and the Arab League. Such a settlement remains the only guarantee to avoid the recurrence of innocent civilian deaths, destruction and heightening tension. They expressed their support for the resumption of negotiations to achieve a comprehensive settlement on the basis of the two-state solution and they welcomed the intention of the International Quartet to work more closely with key Arab countries. In this context they call for the immediate end to the escalation at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and urge the international community to uphold its responsibilities to protect the holy sites in the occupied Palestinian territories.
They expressed their resolve to strengthen their cooperation so that the discovery of important hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean can serve as a catalyst for regional cooperation and prosperity. They stressed that this cooperation is founded upon mutual adherence to well-established principles of International Law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They particularly underscored the importance of the recent discovery of the “Zohr” gas field in Egypt’s Exclusive Economic Zone. They agreed to proceed expeditiously to negotiate the outstanding issues related to the delimitation of their adjacent maritime zones.
They reaffirmed their unwavering support to the ongoing negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem that will reunify the island in accordance with international law, and the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Such a settlement would not only benefit the people of Cyprus as a whole, but would also significantly contribute to the stability and peace in the region.
They expressed concern with regard to the destruction and attacks against the cultural heritage of countries in the Middle East and the organized looting and illicit trafficking of cultural objects, which has a dramatic effect in the invaluable, historical heritage of the region. They shared the experiences of their own countries on this alarming phenomenon and underlined their commitment to continue working towards countering the destruction, looting and trafficking of cultural property. They concurred on the need for a robust UNSC Resolution that would apply universal limitations on the trade and transfer of artefacts originating from all conflict zones, with the obligation of proof of legitimate trade resting upon the traders, auction houses and buyers and not on the originating state.
Our three countries, convinced of the strategic nature of this trilateral cooperation, will continue working closely towards unleashing the full potential of their cooperation, to the benefit of their peoples and the wider region.