In his first visit to the Greek Capital since the signing of a maritime demarcation deal, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi met with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last week to discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and explore ways to expand cooperation in the production of natural gas.
Al-Sisi also met with Energy and Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis to discuss economic cooperation and investment opportunities in Egypt.
An agreement signed by Egypt and Greece in August established an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to allow both countries to make the best use of their resources, particularly hydrocarbons.
The EEZ has estimated reserves of 360 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, worth more than $3 trillion, according to the US Geological Survey.
While Greece is an important gateway to the European Union for Egyptian products, Egypt is the most important gateway to the African Union and Arab countries, said Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi.
Radi said President Al-Sisi’s visit comes within the framework of strengthening bilateral relations to the level of strategic partnership.
According to an article written by Abdel-Mohsen Salama, CEO of Al-Ahram Establishment, Egypt and Greece together provide a counterbalance to Turkish machinations in the region, including Ankara’s cynical fanning of the flames of the conflict in Libya, which has included the signing of illegal agreements with Libya’s transitional government in an attempt to seize oil and gas resources.
According to a statement from the president’s office, Greece fully understands Egypt’s role in ending illegal immigration from Africa to Europe and appreciates that there have been no recent cases of illegal immigration from Egyptian shores to Europe.
“The president,” said the statement, “discussed with Greek leaders ways to resolve pending problems in Libya, Syria, Palestine and Cyprus on the basis of international legitimacy and in a manner that guarantees the freedom of these countries to determine their own destiny and maintain their unity and independence.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 November, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly