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Strengthening of Greece – Egypt bilateral relations

Strengthening of Greece – Egypt bilateral relations
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias visited Egypt on Thursday 17 November where he held bilateral talks with Egyptian counterpart Sahem Shoukry.

As stated by the spokesperson of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abu Zeid, the meeting of the two delegations discussed ways to developm Greek-Egyptian relations in various fields.

Sahem Shoukry briefed his Greek counterpart on latest developments in Egyptian internal affairs and especially the economic reform program adopted by the Egyptian government and the recent agreement with the IMF for a loan of $ 12 billion over three years, which is a great proof of the confidence of the international community and international financial institutions in the ability of the Egyptian economy to recover soon.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister thanked his Greek counterpart for his support and that of Greece to Egypt in international forums, especially in the European Union, whuch Egypt is eager to build on by expanding its cooperation with the EU in the coming period.

Furthermore, the results of Nikos Kotzias' recent visit to Lebanon were discussed along with the results of his meetings with officials and leaders of the main political groups in Lebanon.

According to the Foreign Ministry spokesman, the Greek minister's visit to Cairo is in the framework of monitoring what was agreed during the fourth Summit of the trilateral cooperation mechanism between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus, that took place in Cairo 11 October 2016 with the participation of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

During the meeting it was agreed to increase the level of cooperation between Egypt and Greece bilaterally and cooperate at tripartite level with Cyprus in all areas. Therefore, practical measures were taken to implement specific plans for economic cooperation as a translation of this trend, with common enthusiasm for the activation of agreements that were reached so far between the two sides.

For his part, the Greek Foreign Minister referred to the trilateral cooperation between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus as an effective mechanism for regional cooperation, to determine the Egyptian vision in important regional issues and especially the situation in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, as well as the tireless efforts of Egypt to promote the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. According to Ahmed Abu Zeid, Nikos Kotzias also praised the important role of Egypt for regional stability, particularly in combating terrorism and illegal immigration.

According to diplomatic sources, the Arab Spring and the crisis in Syria demonstrated very recently, once again, in the most emphatic way, how sensitive balances are in North Africa and the Middle East region. A global powder keg, in which many external factors continue to play with matches.

Greece is well aware of the neighborhood. This is why the Greek Foreign Ministry is consistently building cooperation networks in the last two years, following a series of initiatives, with all countries in the area, through trilateral cooperation schemes, the Conference on Religious Pluralism in the Middle East and the Conference in Rhodes for Safety and Stability with the participation of European and Arab states.

Greek strategy in the eastern Mediterranean has made the need for Egyptian stability one of its key elements. It is no coincidence at all that Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, has repeatedly mentioned the need to maintain the internal stability of Egypt. The facts are simple: If Egypt, with a population of over 94 million, rolls into chaos, today's challenges - terrorism, extremism, refugee flows – will be nothing compared to those that will follow.

This does not mean that Greece is not, as always, committed to the principle of respect for human rights and democratic freedoms. It does, however, know the self-evident truth: that internal stability in Egypt is a prerequisite both for the existence of human life, and to improve the protection of human rights. Instability and chaos create explosive situations against human dignity too.

Athens seeks to improve the current situation in Egypt and works in favor of the adoption of a constructive attitude by the EU and the international community, allowing Egyptian authorities to integrate necessary reforms, while avoiding dangerous shocks for the country's stability.

In fact, lately Greece adopted a resolute stance, in many cases pushing back pressure by various EU member-states that sought to blame Cairo for the situation in the country. Of particular interest is the case of the negotiation of the EU Common declaration under the Third UN Committee held away from the limelight:

In forming the joint statement that the EU made in the context of the Third UN Committee, the diplomatic maneuvering of the Greek side resulted in abandoning the initially proposed, hostile words against Egypt and instead the Greek proposal for a moderate reference to Egypt was adopted. Negotiations in the EU were intense and lasted many weeks, requiring special handling and using a veto often so that then desired result would come about, common sense and the Greek proposal would prevail./IBNA

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