08 February 2024 - Press remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt

Press remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Constantinos Kombos following his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Mr Sameh Shoukry

Dear Minister,
Dear Sameh,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome today a valuable friend, to Cyprus. Though we meet quite frequently, the fact that you are visiting Cyprus, in the midst of the tragic events in Gaza and when serious developments are taking place, is something that we really appreciate.

Allow me to set out the context:

Cyprus and Egypt are strategic partners. We have worked closely together to build solid and principled relations, guided by honesty and trust, common interests and transparency. We are tasked to both advance further and deepen in tangible terms, our bilateral partnership. This has been the compass for today’s deliberations. In specific, reference can be made to four topics of our discussions:

Firstly, we considered foundational elements, like our common commitment to principles of international law, to the rules based international order, as well as to the instrumental role of regional multilateralism.

I briefed His Excellency on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus Problem. We stand ready to support the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy and to work closely together with the aim to break the deadlock and resume substantive negotiations, in order to reach a viable and lasting solution on the basis of a Bizonal, Bicommunal Federation with political equality, as provided in the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Nothing less.

In this direction, Egypt’s long-standing principled stand, in all international fora, is highly appreciated and precious.

Secondly, we explored a number of the issues that define our bilateral agenda. We focused on the energy cooperation. The transportation of natural gas from the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus to Egypt for liquefaction, remains a predominant development option for the involved companies. Politically, we are fully cognizant of Egypt’s unique role in the energy field in our region and beyond. Our continuing cooperation within the framework of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) is an integral component in our energy relation.

Thirdly, we discussed the strengthening of the relations between Egypt and the European Union. Especially the next steps to implement and expand the 10th EU-Egypt Association Council outcomes, in line with Egypt’s crucial geostrategic role and its valuable contribution to the EU’s security in a number of areas. Migration control, energy diversification and regional stability could not be taken for granted, and Egypt has been, and remains, a pillar of reason and reliability at a high and increasing cost, that needs to be fully and creatively addressed by the EU. This is the message that Cyprus has been delivering to Brussels, and we will continue to do so.

Fourthly, in today’s discussions, we also shared our profound concern as regards the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, something we have discussed repeatedly in the last months, as well as the developments in the Red Sea.

Cyprus underscores that de-escalation and the resumption of the peace process, based on a two-state solution as per UN Security Council Resolutions, is the only way to end the cycle of violence. It is the only way of fostering conditions of peace and stability.

We also talked in-depth about the importance of getting more aid into Gaza for the civilians in need. We acknowledge Egypt’s vital contribution in tirelessly delivering aid to Gaza through the Rafah crossing point.

In this context, we also discussed Cyprus’ efforts including through the initiative for a dedicated one-way maritime corridor as one more way of providing additional aid to civilians that desperately need it. As an integral partner of the region, Cyprus has a moral duty to do its own part.

Also, let me once again state the obvious. Cyprus rejects in the most absolute terms any displacement of a single Palestinian from Gaza.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you again, dear Sameh for the productive exchange. And a very warm welcome to Cyprus.

Thank you.
Thursday, 8 February 2024