President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed on Saturday Egypt's solid stance with Cyprus against practices that may compromise its sovereignty.
El-Sisi’s statement came during a joint press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades in Cairo at Al-Ittihadiya Presidential Palace.
The president said Egypt supports the Cypriot cause, which is consistent with United Nations resolutions, and the need for non-interference in the affairs of countries and respect for their sovereignty.
The press conference was held after one-on-one discussions at the presidential palace following the official reception of the Cypriot president.
Joint inter-governmental committee
The conference followed the inauguration of the joint higher governmental committee, attended by concerned ministers from the two countries, held for the first time at the presidential level.
The joint committee was scheduled to tackle on Saturday several vital aspects of the bilateral relations, especially in the fields of defence, military cooperation, security, energy, trade, investment, maritime transport, agriculture, education, environment, and youth.
The meeting is set to include discussions on developments on the regional political arena, in the Eastern Mediterranean and at the international level, especially in light of the common challenges facing the two countries. Hence, intensified coordination and consultation between Egypt and Cyprus are needed, stated Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady.
"I believe inaugurating the joint higher committee, which comes at a vital timing, will have a positive impact on the overall relations between the two countries," El-Sisi said during his speech at the press conference.
Saturday’s high-level meetings confirm the Egyptian and Cypriot will to strengthen the framework of traditional cooperation between them to include new fields, as well as to consolidate the deep ties and bonds of historical friendship between the two countries, Rady noted.
Anastasiades said that the inauguration of the joint committee “represents a new step on the road to strengthening the strategic partnership between the two friendly countries,” which, he said, has become a pillar of regional stability.
The committee will also maximise the two countries’ benefits from the opportunities and potential of bilateral cooperation, and will add more momentum to this fruitful cooperation in various sectors, the Cypriot president said.
The Cypriot delegation that accompanied Anastasiades included the ministers of foreign affairs, defence, energy, education, agriculture, and the deputy minister of shipping, according to Cypriot media.
The Egyptian president expressed appreciation for the close historical relations between the two countries, adding that he is proud of the “work that has been done in the framework of strengthening cooperation and relations” between the two countries over the past years.
Anastasiades stressed the deeply rooted and historical cultural and social ties that unite the Egyptian and Cypriot peoples, highlighting his country's pride in its strategic relations with Egypt as well as its keenness to further strengthen them in various fields.
“Egypt is the stone of stability and the foundation of peace [in the region]... and it is the largest and most important partner of the European Union in the Middle East and Africa,” the Cypriot president said.
Anastasiades highlighted the vital role Egypt plays in fighting terrorism and illegal immigration.
The Cypriot president noted that Egypt and Cyprus will sign a memorandum of understanding in September to link electricity between the two countries.
In addition to being one of the first countries to recognise the Cyprus Republic after its independence in 1960, Egypt’s relations with Cyprus have grown stronger in recent years.
“That [past] period undoubtedly witnessed a remarkable growth in the volume of cooperation and coordination between the two countries in regard to various files at various political, economic, and military levels, whether at the bilateral level or within the framework of the tripartite cooperation mechanism between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, in a way that made this unique cooperation a role model in how to achieve integration at the regional level,” El-Sisi said.
The first tripartite gathering between Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus was held in 2014 and later turned into a broad alliance fostering cooperation across a range of economic, political, and strategic interests.
The three countries signed a tripartite political and economic cooperation mechanism agreement in Nicosia in October 2020, which is described as a successful and effective coordination for achieving economic and social developments for Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus.
According to Cypriot media, the next step in the relations between Nicosia and Cairo will take place very soon, since a trilateral summit between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt is expected to take place in mid-October, in Kavala, Greece. Another tripartite summit is expected in December.