Egypt‘s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has stressed the need for political solutions to the Eastern Mediterranean crises, whilst also emphasising Egypt‘s endeavour to maintain security and stability in the region.
Shoukry’s statements came during the 24th Roundtable with the Government of Greece, organised by The Economist in the Greek capital, Athens, on Wednesday.
“My presence here is a testimony of the close relations between Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus,” the minister said, stressing the importance of boosting coordination between the three countries to confront the challenges facing the Eastern Mediterranean.
On Tuesday, Shoukry arrived in Athens, and met with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias, President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. During the meetings, the two sides discussed methods of boosting bilateral ties, and exchanged views on regional issues.
“We must consolidate the efforts of the world community in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration,” he said.
The Egyptian minister also noted the urgent challenge to establishing security and stability in the region. Pointing to the 6 million refugees the country is currently playing host to, Shoukry added that Egypt aims to find sustainable and comprehensive solutions to the rising tensions in the region.
Regarding the relations between the three countries, Shoukry stressed that the maritime border demarcation agreement between Egypt and Greece was carefully studied, and follows international law.
Shoukry’s visit to Athens comes amid increasing regional tensions between Turkey on the one side, and Greece and Cyprus on the other.
“Turkey is, and will always be, an important neighbour,” European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament on Wednesday. “But while we are close together on the map, the distance between us appears to be growing.”
During her speech, von der Leyen also warned Ankara against continued provocations against Greece and Cyprus.
Von der Leyen’s remarks come only days ahead of a European Council summit on Turkey, and the EU’s response to recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.