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Against Whom? Athens, Nicosia and Cairo Build an Alliance

Convened in the Greek capital Athens, leaders of Greece, Egypt and the Greek Cypriot administration reiterated their commitment to a tripartite alliance.

In a joint declaration released following the 9th Trilateral Summit on Cooperation and Coordination, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Cypriot administration leader Nicos Anastasiades, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi underlined their countries’ support to each other’s positions in various essential issues – including the Cyprus issue, Libya, maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria, Palestine-Israel dispute, irregular immigration, cooperation in the energy sector, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that caused serious problems between Egypt and Ethiopia.

Reiterating the Greek-Greek Cypriot narrative on the Cyprus issue, countries pointed out that a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, single international entity, and single citizenship is the only solution.

Referring to the maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean, the countries accused Turkey of violating maritime zones established by international law. The countries also claimed that Economic Exclusive Zones off Cyprus island have already been set and so drilling and seismic surveys carried out by Turkish vessels are “illegal.”

In the declaration, it was also claimed that Turkey violates the Greek national airspace and continental shelf in the Aegean Sea.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that the excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region – including maritime disputes – through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiations.

In a closely related issue, the joint declaration maintained that the military and security cooperation agreement inked between Turkey and Libya’s elected, legitimate GNA government in November 2019 violated international law and undermined regional stability.

Similarly, the countries claimed that the memorandum of understanding between Libya and Turkey on the delimitation of areas of maritime jurisdiction in the Mediterranean cannot produce legal effects.

Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration also strongly and openly reiterated their support to Egypt regarding the GERD that caused a serious dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia.

“We recognise the existential threat that the GERD could pose to Egypt if it is operated unilaterally,” the declaration added.

Despite increasingly deepening strategic ties between Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration, and Israel, the countries said they back the formation of an independent and viable Palestinian state with secure and recognized borders in the pre-1967 alignment, with East Jerusalem as the capital, adding that they also recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.

Expressing satisfaction for the level of cooperation, the countries unveiled a plan that envisages the creation of a tripartite electricity interconnection that would enable transmission of Egyptian electricity to Europe via Greece.

Parties agreed that the next Trilateral Summit will take place in Egypt in the second half of 2022.

In a related development, the Greek leftist opposition party MeRA25 led by former Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis released a statement on Tuesday evening and strongly criticized the summit and joint declaration.

Mitsotakis is trying to build a profile of a strong Greece that claims a role as a player in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean, wishing to capitalize the expensive military agreement with France and the equivalent with the US, the party said.

No bilateral or trilateral agreement will solve the problems of the Eastern Mediterranean, it noted.

Meanwhile, the official online news outlet of the Greek Communist Party said Greece, Egypt, and the Greek Cypriot administration agreed on regional arrangements that would ensure the cohesion of the Euro-Atlantic camp.

Referring to the joint declaration’s coverage of the developments in Libya, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, it added: “Mitsotakis, Sisi, and Anastasiades reiterated their intention to be actively involved in the processes for the promotion of imperialist plans.”

It also noted that China is actively involved in the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia, so Greece’s openly siding with Egypt is risky and adventurous.

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