Egypt, Greece, southern Cyprus eye wider cooperation
Leaders of three countries call for joint effort to boost economy and 'combat terrorism'.

Leaders from southern Cyprus, Egypt and Greece have released a joint declaration calling for further economic cooperation between themselves and moves to "combat terrorism" against "growing security threats" in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

The call came at the end of a one-day trilateral summit in southern Cyprus on Wednesday.

Southern Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in the declaration: "We also call for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem that will reunify the island in accordance with international law, including 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."

"We welcome the enhanced possibility for the resumption of negotiations and the implementation of confidence-building measures,” the declaration said.

The declaration comes as both Turkish and Greek Cypriots continue to try to find a way to settle their decades-long conflict over the divided island.

Negotiations between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration had resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013.

However, the Greek Cypriot administration suspended the talks over the divided island on Oct. 7 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the coast of Cyprus.

The declaration added the "discovery of important hydrocarbon reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean can serve as a catalyst for regional cooperation”.

It added: "We stress that this cooperation would be better served through the adherence by the countries of the region to well-established principles of international law.

"In this respect, we emphasize the universal character of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and decide to proceed expeditiously with our negotiations on the delimitation of our maritime zones, where it is not yet done.”

Turkey and the government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have strongly opposed any "unilateral" move by the Greek-Cypriot administration to explore hydrocarbon resources around the island, saying the natural resources should be exploited in a fair manner under a united Cyprus.

The leaders agreed growing "international terrorism" threatened the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel region and sub-Saharan Africa, the Gulf and Europe.

They agreed to "step up cooperation on counter terrorism, defense and security and discuss relevant information to jointly combat terrorism and violent extremism and promote regional security, long-term stability and prosperity”.

They also pledged to "continue working closely towards unleashing the full potential of their cooperation, to the benefit of their peoples and the wider region”.

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Last Modified: 2015-04-30 10:42:18
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