Statement to the Press by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, after the conclusion of the Trilateral Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Israel and Greece
Jerusalem, 22 August 2021
My friends Yair and Nikos,
Over the last 8 years or so, I have visited Israel΄multiple times, and every time I look back, I take stock of how remarkably far this cooperation has come, of all the steps our countries have jointly taken in fostering a better, more prosperous, more peaceful and stable future for our countries, our peoples and our region.
Our foundations are solid - firmly based on a common vision, on common values - and so is our steadfast commitment to continue on this path, working together on an expanding range of fields, both in addressing challenges and seizing opportunities to deepen our cooperation.
The wide array of areas in which we have embarked in trilateral platforms is impressive and indicative of the closeness of our prolific relations and the depth of our political dialogue. We are building on our concrete groundwork, mapping opportunities, identifying shared interests, and uniting our respective strengths.
And so Yair, I thank you for this invitation that has brought the three of us here in Israel for the first time with the aim of preparing the next High Level Trilateral Summit. Our meeting is a visible confirmation, a message if you like, of the strategic nature of this cooperation, that is here to stay and more importantly, to continue growing.
We had an excellent, productive exchange on an array of issues, and I am very pleased that it was a hands-on discussion, identifying next steps and actions on topics such as the way ahead on expanding our network to regional partners and working together on crucial areas including emergency response, best tackling the pandemic and addressing the scourge of severe climate change.
The importance of expanding regional cooperation and dialogue featured prominently in our discussions. The region is transforming, and though that transformation may not be linear, developments such as the historic normalization agreements between Israel and UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco - where Yair just completed a visit - have created a momentum that we ought to maintain and build on.
This was very much a common assessment also during the meeting we held in Paphos in April, the first between the Foreign Ministers of Israel, Cyprus, Greece and the UAE. Planning is under way for a second meeting in this format with the UAE, and very possibly other countries of the wider region.
At the same time, work is advancing, with a focus on project implementation between our countries and the United States. It is a no brainer that engaging the US more diversely in our 3+1 partnership has significant added value.
Transposing our common vision to tangible deliverables enables us to stand by each other, built back better, and stave off attacks to our common values, while buffering the influence of spoilers that do not share our common perception: The perception that fostering peace, security and stability is a most strategic asset.
We also discussed extensively developments in the wider Middle East, as well as of course the despairing situation that has been unfolding in Afghanistan. We urge for utmost restraint, the protection of human life and call for the respect of human rights, particularly of women, girls and minorities.
I also had the opportunity to inform colleagues on Turkey’s illegal actions and provocations in Cyprus, which regrettably form part of a wider destabilizing pattern of behavior by Turkey in the region, underpinned by an expansionist agenda. This behaviour concerns all of us.
Turkey has to acknowledge that it stands to benefit from not being a spoiler in the region, abandon its expansionist agenda, and respect international law.
Dear Yair, let me thank you, once again, for the invitation and warm hospitality and for the opportunity to meet for the first time in this format in Israel.