The third round of trilateral talks between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt concluded in Athens on Wednesday with the signing of a declaration in which the three countries agreed to work more closely on security and energy issues.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi agreed on the formation of a “standing Joint Committee of Cooperation” that will “develop, formulate and promote practical project of trilateral interest.”
The key areas that the panel will focus on are tourism, investment and energy projects.
Energy also featured heavily in the pact reached by the three leaders as they agreed to “accelerate negotiations on the outstanding issues related to the delineation” of the three countries’ adjacent maritime zones after emphasizing the importance of the recent discovery of the Zohr gas field in Egypt’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“This objective would be better served through the adherence by the countries of the region to well-established principles of international law,” the declaration added in an apparent reference to Turkey.
The three countries also agreed to work more closely on security issues, particularly in trying to prevent jihadism, as well as tackling the migratory flows caused by the unrest in the wider region. They also called on the EU to bolster its relations with Egypt.
“We agree on the need for the European Union to support Egypt politically and economically, including in its fight against terrorism, acknowledging its pivotal role for the security and stability in the East Mediterranean region,” said the declaration.
Diplomatic sources in Athens said that the Greek government was particularly pleased with Sisi’s commitment to addressing security threats, the growing opportunities for cooperation between ports in Greece and Egypt and the Egyptian leader’s keenness for the delineation of the three countries’ EEZs.