Greece – Cyprus | Joint communique of the 1st Intergovernmental Summit
Defence Redefined
Published on 11/11/2023 at 14:54

The Cyprus issue, the developments in the Middle East, and a series of other issues were discussed during the 1st Intergovernmental Summit of Greece – Cyprus which concluded yesterday, Friday.

In the joint communiqué issued after the end of the working sessions, reference is made to the discussion that took place on Energy, Defence, Asylum and Immigration, Education, Health, Civil Protection, Culture, and Shipping. The situation in Ukraine was also discussed.

The two sides agreed that the next Intergovernmental Summit of Greece – Cyprus will take place in Cyprus in 2024.

The joint communiqué of the two states of Hellenism referred, among others, to the following issues:

The Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Mitsotakis, and the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Christodoulidis, confirmed that the institutionalization of the Intergovernmental Summits, indicative of the unbreakable bond between the two countries, contributes to ensuring stability and prosperity in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean. Furthermore, it constitutes the appropriate framework for the further strengthening of bilateral cooperation between Greece and Cyprus.

The work of the Intergovernmental Summit was primarily concerned with the latest developments in the Cyprus conflict. The two leaders reaffirmed that there is no solution to the Cyprus problem without the complete withdrawal of the Turkish occupying troops from Cyprus. They emphasized that the solution must be based on the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

Also read: Cyprus Issue | Christodoulidis on the same page with UN Secretary General

In this context, they expressed their expectation for the appointment of a new Envoy of the Secretary-General/UN for the Cyprus issue, in order to investigate the prospects of resuming negotiations, always within the framework defined by the relevant decisions of the UN Security Council. They reiterated, in this regard, the need to take initiatives to implement the Conclusions of the European Council of 30 June 2023, aiming at the EU’s active role in all stages of the process. They also agreed on the need to take important steps and that the Turkish side demonstrates goodwill in the context of the Cyprus issue, in order to make any progress in Euro-Turkish relations possible.

In sectoral matters and specifically in the field of energy, the strategic cooperation between Greece and Cyprus was reaffirmed, aiming at energy sufficiency and diversification at the regional and European levels, but also at the interconnection of Europe with the Middle East and Asia through the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Emphasis was placed, among others, on the implementation of the flagship electrical interconnection project EuroAsia Interconnector, which was undertaken by ADMIE as the Implementing Agency, on the support of the EastMed natural gas pipeline project as well as the imminent assumption by Greece of the Presidency of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in early 2024.

In terms of asylum and immigration, cooperation was agreed upon to ensure the implementation of the recent action plan for the Eastern Mediterranean drawn up by the European Commission as well as the strengthening of cooperation in the field of returns with the aim of maximizing the benefit of the relevant return programs for the two countries.

In the field of civil protection and within the framework of existing contractual texts, it was decided to plan joint actions in the field of prevention and response to natural disasters, taking into account the events that unfolded across southern Europe last summer.

Also read: Cyprus – Greece | Announcement of a political body for consultation on defence cooperation

As far as defence matters are concerned, their commitment to strengthening the Common European Defence was reaffirmed. The excellent level of cooperation between Ministries and General Staff will be further extended with the cooperation of the defence and security academies.

In the shipping sector, it was agreed to develop joint actions and initiatives for the promotion and development of maritime education, the strengthening of cooperation, and the exchange of know-how regarding the digitization of services of the registers of the two countries as well as the creation of perspectives for the sustainable operation of maritime passenger transport connection between Cyprus and Greece.

The Intergovernmental Summit was also preoccupied with the developments in the Middle East. The two countries unequivocally condemned terrorism and recognized Israel’s right to self-defence, within the framework of international law, especially with regard to the protection of the civilian population.

They noted that Hamas is a terrorist organization that does not represent the Palestinian people, who are institutionally expressed through the Palestinian Authority. Greece and Cyprus reiterated the need for the immediate unconditional release of hostages. They expressed their deep concern about the situation in Gaza and the need for an immediate and practical response to the humanitarian crisis.

Also read: UN | Greece and Cyprus abstain on resolution for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

The Cypriot initiative was also greeted, to which Greece is ready to contribute in practice, for the creation of a defined and seamless maritime humanitarian aid corridor and the protection of civilians.

On other international issues and specifically regarding the situation in Ukraine, the two leaders reiterated their full support for the country’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. At the same time, they underlined the adherence of the two countries to the tripartite cooperation schemes, as a means to promote security, peace, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The development of structured cooperation and expertise in the coordination of the Government Project was also discussed.

Finally, the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, emphasized that progress in Greek-Turkish relations will ultimately benefit the Cypriots, stating that Mr. Christodoulidis has the same opinion. Greece continues its efforts to improve relations with Turkey, based on the rules of good neighborliness and international law.

Also read: Cyprus | Invitation to the Middle East Summit




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