The Minister of National Defence Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos concluded his participation in the 3rd Trilateral Meeting of the Ministers of Defence of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, which took place today Thursday 12 November 2020, in Nicosia.
After the end of the Trilateral Meeting’s proceedings, a joint press conference was held, where Mr Panagiotopoulos stated the following:
It is a particular honour and pleasure for me to be here today in Nicosia, along with my esteemed friends and colleagues, the Ministers of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Charalambos Petridis and of Israel Mr Benjamin Gantz, for our Trilateral Meeting.
The strong bonds between our three countries are based on common principles and values and it is our common vision to strive for the establishment of an environment and conditions of stability, security and prosperity in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The materialisation of a long-term, cohesive and substantial strategic cooperation, according to the international law and the principles of good neighbouring relations with all the countries of the region is our common goal.
Today, we had the opportunity to talk about the latest developments in the region, as well as the progress of our cooperation in the defence and defence-technical sector.
We systematically seek to enhance the interoperability of our Armed Forces and completely utilise our countries’ capabilities and comparative advantages, in mutual interest sectors, such as joint training programmes, inter-service exercises, exchange of military information, naval and cyber security.
We discussed with the esteemed colleagues about the severe threats and security challenges in our wider region and we stressed our joint commitment and decisiveness for their effective management.
I stressed that we condemn the illegal, provocative and unilateral actions of Turkey within the sea zones of Greece and Cyprus, which constitute a flagrant violation of the International Law and of the good neighbourly relations, but also a severe undermining of the regional stability and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean.
We also agreed to further develop our, now institutionalised, Trilateral Cooperation, thus sending strong and clear messages, as well as examine the possibility of expanding it to a “3+1” framework, possibly with other countries, with which we share the same values and aims for the future of our wider region.
The United States are of course included in this framework, the presence of which has a particular gravity for the security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Finally, I would like to thank the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus and my dear friend Mr Charalambos Petridis for the very warm welcome and cordial hospitality and we are looking forward to our next Trilateral Meeting in 2021, in Israel, which will constitute a new milestone in the cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Israel.
In the context of the visit of the Minister of National Defence to Cyprus, a private meeting was held with his Cypriot counterpart Mr Charalambos Petridis. The schedule was concluded with the bilateral meeting of the delegations of Greece and Israel with the participation of Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and Mr Benjamin Gantz.