The works of the Trilateral Meeting among Greece-Cyprus-Egypt were completed in the afternoon and were attended by the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, the Minister of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki and the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Savvas Angelidis.
Following the end of discussions, the following Joint Announcement was released, consisting of nine points:
1. The Minister of National Defence of the Hellenic Republic, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus, Savvas Angelidis and General Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Minister of Defence and of Military Production met in Athens, on 5 November 2019, in order to further promote their cooperation in the region of the East Mediterranean.
2. The Ministers examined the last developments and the progress achieved in the field of defence and security and stressed their common desire to further enhance their cooperation in the defence and defence-technical field, in order to face the challenges regarding security in the East Mediterranean and to promote the peace, stability and prosperity in the wider region.
3. The Ministers confirmed that the defence cooperation among the three countries promotes the knowledge and experiences exchange, as well as the combination of capabilities and comparative advantages through productive means, through the participation in training programs and joint exercises. Nowadays, the three countries frequently conduct military exercises, among which, air and navy exercises, as well as Special Forces exercises. The Ministers agreed on preserving and intensifying the increasing dynamic, but also to investigate further and develop new aspects regarding their defence cooperation.
4. The Ministers condemned the illegal search activities of Turkey in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, requesting their immediate cessation and projecting the need of respecting the sovereignty and territorial rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its sea zones, in accordance with the International Law and the UNCLOS. In addition, the Ministers condemned the Turkish violations of the Hellenic Air Space and Territorial Waters, in defiance of the International Law.
5. In addition, the Ministers disapproved the recent Turkish invasion in Syria, which has caused a new humanitarian crisis, it has further increased the migratory flows and it has also undermined to a great extent the progress achieved so far by the Global Coalition regarding fighting Da’esh, pointing out that Da’esh is still a threat for the regional, European and international security. They condemned every Turkish effort that undermines the sovereignty, the territorial integrity and unity of Syria, that imposes demographic changes and at the same time tries to manipulate the people.
6. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to further enhance the international efforts regarding fighting terrorism. With reference to that, they expressed their strong concern with regard to the tolerance that some countries display, allowing foreign fighters to cross and move through their territory, threatening other countries’ security and stability.
7. In the context of the above, new challenges and Security threats in our region require a joint threat estimation and a closer cooperation among the three countries, to protect their common interests and reinforce their cooperation in the field of Defence.
8. The Ministers pointed out that they have entered a new age of geo-strategic cooperation, which relies on their capabilities for a mutually beneficial cooperation.
9. The Ministers agreed on conducting the next 2020 Defence Ministers Trilateral Meeting in Cyprus.
Then followed the Ministers’ addresses to Media representatives. The Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos pointed out:
It is a great honor and pleasure to welcome you, our friends, the Minister of Defence of Egypt, General Mohamed Ahmed Zaki and of Cyprus, Mr. Savvas Angelidis, today in Athens and in the Ministry of National Defence, for our 3rd Trilateral Meeting.
As you know, our countries cooperate in a wide range of fields, including the defence field, and it is our common vision and aspiration to create and consolidate a stability environment and conditions, a security and prosperous environment in our wider region, to the benefit of our people and peace.
The message that our countries will become the pillars of a smooth cooperation, common goals and progress in the East Mediterranean was conveyed by the leaders of the three countries, in the 7th Trilateral Summit (Greece-Egypt-Cyprus), held in Kairo a month ago (on the 8th of October).
Today, we had the opportunity to discuss the last developments in the field of Security and Defence and the progress regarding our cooperation in the defence and defence-technical field. We pointed out our common strategic commitment and determination to further develop the finally institutionalized Trilateral cooperation, conveying strong and clear messages to all directions.
Our common goal is the exchange of experience, the full use of our countries’ capabilities and comparative advantages with regard to training and joint exercises programs.
I would like to express, and I believe I speak on behalf of the two Minister friends as well, our satisfaction, regarding the successful conduct of the Air, Navy and Special Forces frequent joint exercises of high operational value.
We agreed today to intensify our cooperation which has assumed a special dynamic and to enrich it with new aspects, such as the Cyber-security, crises management and cooperation with regard to the defence-technical field.
As a capping-stone of today’s meeting and a tangible example of our strong will to reinforce interoperability among the armed forces of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which is a decisive factor for our effective cooperation, we will travel to Crete tomorrow with the Minister friends, to observe the final stage of the joint exercise “Medousa”, conducted for the second time within 2019.
During the Trilateral and our bilateral meeting with the Minister of Defence of Egypt, held this morning, in the context of his official visit to Greece, we discussed the important security challenges in our wider region and the reinforcement of our cooperation to deal with them.
As projected in the Joint Statement of the Trilateral Meeting, we condemned Turkey’s illegal actions in Cyprus sea zones, which constitute a gross violation of the International Law and the Treaty Regarding Sea Law, as well as Turkey’s provocative behavior, with regard to violations of the Hellenic Air Space and territorial waters, which defies the International Law and the good neighborly principle.
We also had the opportunity to discuss the Turkish invasion in Syria, which will result in a new humanitarian crisis, it will further increase the migratory flows from Turkey to Greece and will have a negative impact on our efforts regarding fighting terrorism.
The emerging security challenges and threats in our wider region impose the joint threat estimation and the closer cooperation of the three countries, in order to protect our common interests and reinforce our mutually beneficial strategic cooperation.
Finally, I would like to point out that with our distinguished counterpart Ministers share the belief that our Trilateral cooperation is an example for our region, complying with the International Law principles and good neighborly relations with the other countries in the region, with the cooperation, prosperity and progress of our people being an exclusive rule.
We look forward to our next Trilateral meeting which will be held in 2020 in Cyprus, as a new milestone regarding our cooperation”.
The Minister of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, stated the following;
“First, I would like to thank the Honorable Greek Minister of National Defence for the organization of this meeting, referring to the cooperation of the three countries, the Trilateral Meeting among Greece, Cyprus and Egypt.
I would also like to thank the Political Leaders of the three countries, for the efforts they make regarding the reinforcement of this cooperation in every field, and at this point I am referring to the last Summit held in Kairo last month.
This cooperation is considered a cooperation example regarding peace, security and stability in the East Mediterranean and in the wider region.
Today, we discussed the military and defence cooperation. We expressed our satisfaction and content regarding the results achieved in this field so far, mostly with regard to the joint military exercises and the land, Naval and Air Force troops’ training.
As you know, exercise “Medousa” is conducted as we speak, for the second time this year. Tomorrow, God willing, we will travel to Crete to observe this Exercise, with the participation of the Chiefs of the three Armed Forces.
I would like to point out that all three sides absolutely agreed on all issues discussed since this morning and concern the wider region.
We stressed the need of continuing this cooperation, so that we are able to face Ankara’s challenges and secure our own common interests.
Finally, I would like to thank the Honorable Greek Minister of National Defence for the organization of this meeting and the hospitality. I wish all the best for the prosperity of Greece and Cyprus”.
The Minister of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Savvas Angelidis pointed out:
“It is my turn to express my sincere thanks to the Greek Minister of National Defence Mr. Panagiotopoulos, my friend Nikos, both for the invitation and the warm hospitality.
I also express my content for the presence of the Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, General Zaki. The views of both men improve the work of all of us. The relations of the three countries are everlasting and steady, because they were founded through their history, their extensive culture, their achievements, but also through survival struggles, struggles for a better and safer future.
The goal of our meeting today was to discuss reinforcement ways of the already outstanding cooperation of the three countries, regarding security and defence issues. We analyzed the developments in the East Mediterranean and examined the implementation of specific actions to achieve peace, stability and the prosperity of our people.
The trilateral cooperation of our countries regarding defence and security will be further enhanced in 2020, conveying the message that the close relation and cooperation of the regional countries reinforces security and constitutes a strong shield against illegal and terrorist actions.
We were concerned about the constant illegal actions of Turkey in the Exclusive Economic Zone and in the sea area of the Republic of Cyprus. These actions violate the sovereignty and territorial rights of the Republic of Cyprus and constitute a gross violation of the International Law rules. I express my gratitude to the two Ministers for the strong and firm support of their countries with regard to our just struggle.
In relation to Syria, we condemned the Turkish invasion in this country, which puts a risk on the struggle fought during the last years against terrorism and creates a humanitarian crisis once again, through the increase of the migratory flows and the severe consequences of this situation.
We also exchanged views in relation to the unsettled political situation in Libya and pointed out the need of finding political solutions to the problems, in order for the East Mediterranean region to be stable and secure.
The establishment of prosperity conditions will prevent the emergence of terrorist actions and the increase of the migratory flows in other countries.
Finally, we agreed that the next Trilateral Meeting will take place in Cyprus in 2020. Regarding Cyprus, the security and stability in the East Mediterranean is of strategic importance. From this angle, the role of the Armed Forces is of vital importance regarding the Stability and Security of the region.
There is a commitment by all three Ministers to continue the hard work and implementation of the goals that have been set”.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 6 November, the three Defence Ministers of Greece-Egypt-Cyprus will observe the final phase of the joint exercise “Medousa 9” in the wider region of Crete. The exercise aims at the further reinforcement of cooperation among the Armed Forces of Greece, Egypt and the Republic of Cyprus.
On part of Egypt, the exercise is attended by commandos and hand-picked troops of the Egyptian Army, the helicopter carrier “Gamal Abdel Nasser”, the frigate “El Fateh”, a Type 209 submarine, the missile launcher ship “Sulayman Ezzat” and F-16 fighters.
On part of Greece, the exercise is attended, among others, by a frigate, a submarine, F-16 fighters and war ships, while on part of Cyprus it is attended by a ship and special forces troops.
At the same time observers from Bulgaria, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Bahrain, South Korea, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and the USA have been invited.
Before the opening of the works of the Trilateral Meeting there have been bilateral meetings between the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and the Minister of Defence of Egypt Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki.