Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi welcomed on Saturday the visit of Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides to Cairo, stressing the solid and strategic relations between Egypt and Cyprus in multiple fields.
In a meeting between El-Sisi and Christodoulides, a statement by the Egyptian presidency said, the president affirmed the state’s desire to strengthen the mechanisms of joint cooperation, especially on the political, military, trade, and energy levels.
This comes, El-Sisi stressed, as Egypt and Cyprus, together with Greece, are enhancing cooperation to achieve their common interests and goals in the Eastern Mediterranean region and to confront the various challenges in the region.
Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus signed a tripartite political and economic cooperation mechanism agreement in Nicosia in October 2020. The three countries chose the Cypriot capital to serve as the headquarters of the secretariat of the tripartite mechanism effort starting the spring of 2021.
El-Sisi asked asked Christodoulides during the meeting, attended by Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, to convey his greetings to Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
The Cypriot top diplomat expressed his country's appreciation of the close cooperation ties with Egypt, which are seen as a model for constructive cooperation between Mediterranean countries, especially in light of Egypt's privileged position, regional weight, and its pivotal role in the region under the leadership of El-Sisi, the statement said.
“Cyprus will remain one of the supporters of Egypt in the European Union,” Christodoulides was quoted by the Egyptian statement as saying, stressing Cyprus' interest in boosting bilateral cooperation.
He highlighted Cyprus' interest in developing the tripartite cooperation mechanism between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus, which is considered a successful and effective mechanism for regular institutional coordination and cooperation in achieving the economic and social development of the three countries.
Egypt’s Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady noted that the meeting witnessed an exchange of visions on regional issues of common interest, in light of the stability of common stances of the two countries and the consistency of their interests in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
The meeting also witnessed an affirmation that the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) represents one of the most important tools for collaboration, which will open horizons for cooperation and investment between the countries of the region in the fields of energy and gas, Rady said.
Established in 2019 as an international organisation headquartered in Cairo, the EMGF’s statute came into force in March 2021 in a meeting in the Egyptian capital between the foreign ministers of the founding members: Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, and Israel.
The forum aims to establish a regional gas market in the Eastern Mediterranean and enhance trade relations among the member states.
On Saturday, El-Sisi and Christodoulides also discussed developments in the Palestinian cause in light of the recent developments, Rady said, adding that the Cypriot minister expressed his country's sincere appreciation of Egypt’s efforts to reach a ceasefire between the Palestinian and Israeli sides in the Gaza Strip.
Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, which was lauded by regional and international countries. The ceasefire came into effect early on Friday, ending 11 days of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. The aggression left more than 250 Palestinians dead, hundreds injured and homeless, while tens of residential and commercial buildings were shelled by Israeli air strikes.
The escalation had sparked on 10 May when Israel cracked down on Palestinian demonstrators protesting against Israel’s plan to forcibly expel Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem.
El-Sisi stressed the importance of prompt work to revive peace negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides on the basis of the two-state solution, international legitimacy decisions, which and the rules of international law.
Egypt has been supporting the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Earlier on Sunday, Shoukry had a separate meeting with his Cypriot counterpart. The two officials consulted on a number of issues of bilateral cooperation as well as regional issues of mutual interest, a statement by the foreign ministry said.
Shoukry stated during his meeting with Christodoulides that the absence of any real horizon for the peace process may lead to the continuation of renewed conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian parties, which requires intensifying international efforts to re-launch the negotiations process as soon as possible.
The two ministers also discussed regional files and issues of common concern, especially Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean, emphasising the importance of continued consultation between them in the coming period, the statement added.