Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with his Egyptian counterpart, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday in Athens in a further show of the increasingly cordial relations between the two Mediterranean countries.
After the meeting, the Greek leader stated “Trilateral cooperation is a foundation of peace, stability and prosperity. A foundation that Greece, Egypt and Cyprus are steadily serving.”
“Our meeting takes place a few days after the election of a new president in the United States,” the Prime Minister continued, adding, in a clear swipe at President Trump “From now on, Greek-American relations will become stronger on all levels.
“President Biden will help restore balance and security in our region. Greece has every reason to welcome the return of the United States to its central role as a leading player in NATO.
“In our troubled region,” he continued, “our two countries have already set an example of peace and cooperation with an iconic moment on August 6, when they signed an agreement on the partial delimitation of maritime zones and our common intention to continue consultations so that this agreement can be extended.”
“It is a very important development. This agreement is the best example of how, when we are guided by international law, the rules of good neighborly relations and respect, we reach agreements that benefit our peoples,” he added.
The Greek Prime Minister went on to say that these were “emblematic actions that generate conquests of peace and cooperation,” adding that “contrary to the stance of neighboring Turkey, the Mediterranean can become a sea that unites instead of dividing peoples.”
The Greek Prime Minister remarked that his talks with the Egyptian President had focused on the EastMed pipeline, while adding that “every country can participate, provided it abstains from provocations and respects international law.
“Greece and Egypt are partners with mutual export relations and common strategic goals,” he then added, stressing that “soon both countries will be even more attractive investment destinations.”
The Prime Minister also spoke about migration, highlighting not only Egypt’s important role “in stopping migration flows” but also its participation in the ceasefire agreement in Libya, which he said was “due to Egypt.”
He continued, “It remains to be implemented, with the first provision being the withdrawal of any foreign power. Greece’s faith in the stabilizing role of your country extends to the normalization of relations between the Arab world and Israel.
PM Mitsotakis went on to say that “I also did not fail to express… the appreciation we all feel for Egypt’s important role as a beacon of moderate, of true Islam. Especially in times, like the present, when certain forces are attempting to don a religious mantle,” he added.
In conclusion, PM Mitsotakis referred to a historical event which was pivotal in World War II. “As of today 78 years ago, the historic battle of El Alamein was concluding with the famous victory of the Allies — a starting point for the liberation of Europe. Among those fighters were thousands of Greeks who made Egypt the base of their struggle. Our countries have always been together. Then in war; today in peace; and tomorrow in growth and prosperity.”
Egyptian President al-Sisi responded to the Greek leader by saying “We discussed the events in our region and the adoption of policies by some that are at odds with the international community, and we agreed to jointly address all those who want to threaten peace.
“We also agreed to strengthen each other in terms of defense relations,” he added.
Al-Sisi then noted that “We agreed on a just solution to the Cyprus problem based on international law and referred to the situation in Libya, where we agreed that there should be a political solution that will bring peace and stability to the region,” adding that they had also agreed on the immediate need to tackle international terrorism and stop the countries that support it.
“Countries that support terrorism, help terrorists and encourage them must be held accountable,” he emphasized.
“We have also agreed that global terrorism has nothing to do with religion and we reject any insult to any religion,” al-Sisi added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Greek President Katerina Sakellaopoulou had met with President Al-Sisi, speaking among other subjects about the groundbreaking agreement on maritime territories between the two nations, signed in the summer.
In her remarks after their meeting, she stated “The signing of the EEZ partial delimitation agreement on August 6 and its entry into force is a milestone for relations between our countries, as well as for the wider region.”
The President of the Republic pointed out that it is very important for Greece and herself, personally, that the country is today welcoming the leader of a great, friendly nation, which is also a pillar of stability in the region and a true leader in the Muslim and Arab world.
Egypt is, she stated, “A country associated with Greece, with long-standing relations of friendship, respect and culture,” later addressing President al-Sisi personally, expressing her regret that “the pandemic does not allow us to give your visit the splendor we would like.”
President Sakellaropoulou also referred to the escalation of Turkish aggression and provocations and condemned the recent resurgence of terrorism with religion as a pretext, emphasizing that it is indisputable that religious values have nothing to do with acts of extremism.
The Egyptian President then thanked President Sakellaropoulou for the warm welcome he received and referred to the long-term relationship between the two countries. As he noted, he has visited Greece many times, while he expressed his confidence that their discussions will be constructive.
He agreed with the Greek President regarding the agreement of August 6, noting that it will contribute to the strengthening of bilateral relations, adding that other agreements will follow.
He also stressed that Egypt will stand by Greece and in support of its rights, on any issue related to the country’s security and maritime borders.
In conclusion, the Egyptian President agreed that recent terrorist acts have nothing to do with religion or with what some believe, but are the acts of extremists, which must not lead to religious conflicts.