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Egypt begins talks with Greece and Cyprus

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The three Mediterranean countries seek to strengthen ties and discuss regional issues

The Egyptian foreign ministry began hosting political consultations with delegations from Greece and Cyprus on Monday and discussed a number of ties between the three countries.

The consultations, hosted by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo, were scheduled to last two days. Head of the Egyptian side in the talks, Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs Hatem Seif Al-Nasr, met with Greece’s general director of the foreign ministry’s political department Dimitris Paraskevopoulos and Cyprus’ Deputy Secretary General of Foreign Affairs Tassos Jonis.

The political consultations were held to discuss “various political, economic, cultural, and technical issues, and to discuss ways to strengthen relations,” according to a foreign ministry statement. The Egyptian, Cypriot, and Greek delegations were also set to discuss regional and international issues “of common interest and coordinate positions on them.”

Seif Al-Nasr said that Egypt was “keen on strengthening cooperation” with the two sides, built on historic ties of friendship, adding that Cyprus and Greece “were among the first countries that supported the Egyptian revolution” and its transitional period. He also took note that Greece would take over the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2014.

Delegations from the three countries met in September in New York City on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Last year the Egyptian and Cypriot governments agreed to cooperate in exploring offshore oil and gas in the waters between the two nations.

Last Thursday ahead of the talks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece Evangelos Venizelos received the Ambassador of Cyprus in Greece Phaedon Anastasiou and Egyptian ambassador Ahmed Fouad Al-Badawy in Athens.

Both Greece and Cyprus cautiously endorsed the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July, citing historical and traditional ties.

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