The joint declaration signed Tuesday by the leaders of Greece, Egypt and Cyprus was a clear indication of the the alignment of Athens, Cairo and Nicosia on a number of crucial regional issues, including power and Turkey’s role in the region.
The tripartite summit held in Athens was the ninth over the last seven years.
The declaration, signed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the presidents of Egypt, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, and the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, rejected the “illegal drilling and seismic surveys” by Turkish vessels off the Cypriot coast and Ankara’s sea and aerial violations in the Aegean Sea, while calling for an end to the provocations and unilateral actions, including the harassment of research vessels validly licensed by Greece or Cyprus.
The declaration reaffirmed support for United Nations procedures for resolving the Cyprus issue.
The three leaders also welcomed the signing of their countries’ tripartite power interconnection agreement, noting that it will not only strengthen cooperation between Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, but also Europe’s energy security.
After the summit, Mitsotakis said “our positions are identical in condemning Turkey’s provocative practices and aggressive rhetoric.”
He added that the harassment of the Nautical Geo research vessel, as well as the threats of new illegal drilling within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, “unfortunately do not leave room for misinterpretation of its intentions.”
“Unfortunately, the Ankara leadership does not seem to understand the messages of the times. These aspirations of Turkey to the detriment of its neighbors in the Eastern Mediterranean obviously pose a threat to peace in the wider region. However, they do not foresee a constructive attitude toward the settlement of the Cyprus issue,” he said.
Anastasiadis referred to Turkey’s provocations, noting they are not just limited to Cyprus, “but extend to the Aegean, and to Libya, Syria, the sovereignty of Iraq and Armenia.”
For his part, Sisi made special reference to both the power interconnection and the prospects of creating a transmission pipeline from Cyprus’ Aphrodite block to the two gas liquefaction terminals in Idku and Damietta in Egypt and its transfer through Greece to the Balkans and Central Europe, which is in line with the ambitions of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.