CNA News

Expectation for UNSG envoy appointment on Cyprus in Athens-Nicosia joint communiqué

The Cyprus problem was the focus of the joint communiqué issued by Greece and Cyprus, after the conclusion of the 1st Intergovernmental Summit held between the two countries in Athens on Friday, with both sides reaffirming that “there is no solution to the Cyprus problem without the complete withdrawal of Turkish occupying troops from Cyprus”.

At the same time, Greece and Cyprus stress that the solution must be based on the UN Security Council resolutions and express their expectation for the appointment of a new UN Secretary-General’s Envoy for Cyprus to explore the prospects for the resumption of negotiations, in the framework of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

They also reiterate “the need for initiatives to implement the European Council Conclusions of 30 June 2023, with a view to the EU playing an active role at all stages of the process.”

Furthermore, they stress the need for “goodwill to be demonstrated by the Turkish side in the context of the Cyprus issue for any progress in the EU-Turkey relations to be possible.”

The Intergovernmental Summit also addressed developments in the Middle East, with both countries unequivocally condemning terrorism and recognising Israel’s right to self-defence, within the framework of international law, particularly with regard to the protection of the civilian population.

The joint communiqué also welcomes the Cypriot initiative, to which Greece is ready to make a practical contribution, for the establishment of a defined and unhindered humanitarian aid sea corridor and the protection of civilians.

As regards the sectoral issues discussed by the two countries’ Ministers and Deputy Ministers in their bilateral meetings, these included a range of areas from Foreign Policy, Defence, Education, Health, Energy, Civil Protection, Culture, Immigration and Asylum, Maritime Affairs and the coordination of government work.

According to the joint communiqué, in the field of energy, the strategic importance of cooperation between Greece and Cyprus was reaffirmed, aiming at energy sufficiency and diversification at regional and European level, as well as the interconnection of Europe with the Middle East and Asia through the Eastern Mediterranean. Emphasis was placed, inter alia, on the implementation of the flagship EuroAsia Interconnector electricity project, which was undertaken by ADMIE as the Implementing Agency, the support of the EastMed Pipeline gas pipeline project, as well as the upcoming Greek Presidency of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in early 2024.

In the field of education, it was decided to further strengthen cooperation on school and higher education issues. In this context, a revised cooperation programme will be signed before the end of the year.

On health issues, the content of agreements concerning kidney transplants and the provision of organs in Greece for the transplantation of Cypriots in Greece was discussed, with a view to signing them at a later stage. It was also decided to strengthen cooperation in the field of medicines, the training of medical specialists and the exchange of know-how and expertise on mental health issues.

In the area of asylum and migration, cooperation on the implementation of the European Commission’s recent Eastern Mediterranean Action Plan, as well as enhanced cooperation in the area of returns, was agreed.

In the field of civil protection, it was decided to plan joint actions for the prevention and response to natural disasters.

On defence matters, the common commitment to strengthening the Common European Defence was reaffirmed and the extension of cooperation between the defence and security academies was agreed.

In the maritime sector, it was agreed to develop joint actions and initiatives for the promotion and advancement of maritime education, to enhance cooperation and exchange of know-how in the digitisation of services of both countries’ registers, as well as to create prospects for the sustainable operation of the maritime passenger connection between Cyprus and Greece.

In the field of culture, issues related to the forthcoming signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Deputy Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Cyprus and the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic for the years 2024-2028 were discussed.

The development of structured cooperation and expertise in the framework of coordination of government work was also discussed.

On other international issues, the joint communiqué reiterates the two countries’ support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as the commitment of Greece and Cyprus to trilateral cooperation schemes.

Finally, it is stated that the next Intergovernmental summit will be held in Cyprus in 2024.