Cyprus-Greece-Egypt condemn Turkey's illegal actions in joint declaration

Egypt Greece Cyprus Mitsotakis Anastasiades Sisi

Condemnation of the illegal drilling and seismic operations of Turkey in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the continental shelf of Cyprus, references to the Cyprus division, but also the importance of dialogue on the basis of respect for International Law, were included as key points in the joint Declaration of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.

"We reiterated our unwavering support to the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to reach a comprehensive, just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem based on the relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions and international law. We condemned Turkey’s actions in Varosha in violation of relevant Security Council Resolutions and called on Turkey to terminate its provocative actions, comply with UN Resolutions in particular 550 (1984) and 789 (1992) and to contribute constructively and in concrete terms for the resumption of structured and result oriented negotiations for a comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions," the joint declaration said in reference to Cyprus.

"Such a solution must be compatible with the Republic of Cyprus’ capacity as an EU member state and fully safeguard its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security. To this end, the termination of the anachronistic security arrangements and the withdrawal of foreign forces remain a sine qua non for the Republic of Cyprus as a sovereign state. We stressed that the United Nations remain the only framework through which a settlement can be achieved," the statement continued.

Greece Cyprus Egypt
The leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt met on October 21, 2020.

The joint statement also highlighted Turkey's continued violations of Greece's sovereignty.

"We also condemned the continuous violations of Greek national airspace and territorial waters in the Aegean Sea and Turkey’s illegal activities in areas falling within Greece’s continental shelf, in contravention of international law," the statement said, adding that "we stressed the importance for the respect of the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of each state in its maritime zones in accordance with international law, and as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) and called on Turkey to permanently abstain from such actions in the future, thus helping create conditions conducive to dialogue which cannot be conducted in an aggressive environment or under the threat of use of force."

Although the joint statement called on Turkey to resolve issues with Cyprus through the International Court of Justice in The Hague, this is unlikely considering Turkey is one of the very few country's in the entire world to recognize the authority of the court.

The joint statement also highlighted the strategic importance of this trilateral relationship and revealed the next meeting will take place next year in Greece.

Moving away from issues directly relating to Greece, Cyprus or Egypt, the joint declaration "welcomed the recent normalization agreements Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain respectively, and believe they represent a positive contribution towards attaining peace and stability in the Middle East" but also emphasized the "need to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution, in accordance with the relevant UN Resolutions, and the establishment of a sovereign, viable and contiguous Palestinian State within the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace with all its neighbors."

Finally, the joint declaration also expressed hope that Egypt and Ethiopia can resolve their differences over the damming of the river Nile.

"We discussed the recent developments on the negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and expressed deep concern that those negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan under the auspices of the African Union did not bear fruit. We underscored that the negotiations between the riparian states must continue and reiterated that previous agreements, especially the 2015 Declaration of Principles which requires Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to reach an agreement on filling and operation of the GERD, should be upheld and the obligation not to cause significant harm. The principle of equitable and reasonable utilization and the principle of cooperation should remain the foundation for reaching a fair and balanced agreement," the statement said.