Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke of his support for Cyprian reunification and of growing bilateral cooperation in Nicosia on Monday, at the start of a two-day visit to the Mediterranean island.
El-Sisi and Cyprus’s President Nicos Anastasiades signed several MOUs in the fields of security, communication, medicine and business, and in subsequent addresses to reporters, Anastasiades welcomed his Egyptian counterpart and said the two countries are bound by strong historic ties.
He described Egypt as a strategic partner for Cyprus and the European Union, affirming his country's support for Cairo's efforts to curb irregular migration and terrorism.
El-Sisi said that his country stands by the reunification of Cypriot territories in accordance with international law and legitimacy. He also said cooperation between his country and Cyprus in the field of energy production would enhance peace and stability in the region.
The Cypriot president informed El-Sisi of the latest developments in negotiations to reach a peaceful resolution to the Cypriot territorial dispute following the failure of reunification talks in Switzerland, describing the Turkish presence on his soil as a sort of “occupation.”
El-Sisi said the growing military cooperation between Egypt and Cyprus in light of a 2015 agreement enhances ties between the armies of both countries.
El-Sisi also gave an address to the Cypriot House of Representatives, where he praised the efforts of Cypriot MPs to safeguard democracy in their country, reaffirming Egypt's support for the unification efforts of the Mediterranean island.
"I am sure that your efforts and determination will result in resolving the issue of unifying Cypriot territories, which is not only essential for your country but for the Middle East as well," he said.
"Egypt has been and will always be a second home country for Cypriot citizens since President Nasser established ties with late leader Makarios III."
Demetris Syllouris, the parliament’s president, praised Egypt's historical stances toward Cyprus, noting that Egypt was one of the first countries to recognise its independence from Great Britain in 1960.
The Egyptian president arrived in Nicosia on Monday accompanied by a delegation which includes the ministers of foreign affairs, trade and industry, communication and petroleum.
He is set to attend a tripartite summit between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece on Tuesday, the fifth such meeting since 2014, which President Alexis Tsipras of Greece will also attend.