Parliament speakers of Egypt, Greece, Cyprus discuss economic, security conditions in Mediterranean
Gamal Essam El-Din, , Monday 11 Feb 2019
The speakers said their meeting in Cyprus Monday aimed to support creating a regional bloc capable of facing the threats in the eastern Mediterranean

In a first of its kind meeting on Monday, the parliament speakers of Egypt, Greece and Cyprus discussed issues directly related to the interests of their three countries.

Egypt parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said in a word before the meeting in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, that he is happy that relations between the three Mediterranean countries are rapidly growing.

"This meeting comes to give support to the summit meetings which the leaders of the three countries have held six times since 2014," said Abdel-Aal.

According to Abdel-Aal, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus have always been keen to coordinate on economic and security conditions in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Middle East region in general.

"The three countries want to build a strong regional bloc that can stand up to terrorist movements espousing extremist ideologies and stem the tide of illegal migration, which have become a threat to the security in the East Mediterranean," said Abdel-Aal.

"As you see, the cooperation among our three countries is no longer confined to discoveries of natural gas and the demarcation of maritime borders, and that we now aim to create an effective regional bloc that can fight forces which aim to destabilise our countries."

Abdel-Aal said that the meeting focused on three important sectors: energy, tourism, and culture and education.

"In the area of energy, all know that the East Mediterranean has in recent years seen enormous discoveries of natural gas, particularly the Egyptian Zohr field, which has reserves initially estimated at 30 trillion cubic metres," said Abdel-Aal.

"The three countries will also move to connect their electricity grids, and a memorandum of understanding in this respect has been signed by Egypt's Holding Company for Electricity and the Euro-Africa Interconnector Company to connect the electricity grids between Egypt and Cyprus in a first stage, and then Greece via Crete Island in a second stage."

Abdel-Aal said that connecting the electricity grids of Egypt, Cyprus and Greece will help boost development in the three countries and secure their energy needs for many years to come.

On tourism, Abdel-Aal said the meeting stressed the need for Egypt, Cyprus and Greece to boost their investments in this sector.

"We talked about the necessity of operating maritime tours between the three countries, encouraging medical tourism, and reinforcing the ties of friendship among our peoples," said Abdel-Aal.

Abdel-Aal said that Egypt, Greece and Cyprus are the result of ancient civilisations and all are very rich in cultural and architectural heritage.

"We discussed how to boost our cultural cooperation and fighting the illegal trade in antiquities," said Abdel-Aal.

On education, Abdel-Aal said that the meetings stressed the importance of implementing agreements between universities in the three countries.

"We also probed the possibility of teaching Arabic in Cypriot schools," said Abdel-Aal.