Illegal immigration, refugees at forefront of Egyptian, Cypriot, Greek tripartite summit

Sarah El-Sheikh
4 Min Read

The fourth Egyptian, Cypriot, and Greek tripartite summit put the illegal immigration crisis and the constant flow of refugees streaming from crises across the region at the top of the agenda.

During discussions between the leaders of each country, the trio agreed on the importance of dealing with illegal immigration and the flow of refugees. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi discussed the measures needed for deporting illegal immigrants, due to security reasons, and the goal of improving the process for awarding visas to those migrating.

Al-Sisi added that it is a top priority to offer employment opportunities for youth and to strengthen relations with the EU—relations that should be based in mutual respect. The Egyptian president stressed that the issue of illegal immigration should be dealt with firmly.

The tripartite summit was arranged between Al-Sisi, his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades, and the Greek prime minister Alexi Tsipras at Itihadiya Palace in Cairo.

Each leader gave a speech during the press conference, addressing the importance of cooperation between the three countries. They also reviewed their discussions that took place during the meetings held prior to the conference. The discussions mainly focused on illegal immigration, crises in the Middle East, including the situations in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Palestine, Cypriot–Turkish relations, as well as relations between the three countries.

Regarding regional issues, Al-Sisi explained that achieving peace in Palestine will contribute to eliminating tension and instability in the Middle East, and will require all parties to redouble their efforts to revive the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

Gamal Sultan, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo, told Daily News Egypt that this is the fourth summit to be held in a short period of time, which reflects the importance of relations between the three countries.

Sultan added that Cyprus and Greece have strong foundations in the EU and their cooperation will strengthen Egypt’s position in the union.

He also added that Egyptian and Greek relations are important for limiting the flow of refugees through the Mediterranean Sea, as Greece is one of the largest recipients of refugees.

Regarding tripartite cooperation, the Greek prime minister said that they discussed the importance of deepening cooperation in the field of energy by transferring natural gas from Egyptian fields to Europe.

Tsipras also mentioned the demarcation of certain economic regions, cooperation in the development of renewable energy sources, and repeated the need to hold regular meetings with concerned ministers, as well as activating tourism and transport agreements with Egypt.

Al-Sisi praised the tripartite cooperation by saying that it will benefit the security of the Mediterranean region. He also praised their tripartite achievements since the beginning of the summits in 2014, describing the summits as ”an extension of a long history of communication between the three countries”.

The cooperation between the three countries’ objective was to develop a tripartite partnership in various fields, including promoting peace, stability, security, and prosperity in the eastern Mediterranean.

The first summit was held in November 2014 in Cairo, the second in Nicosia in April 2015, and the third in Athens in December 2015.



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