President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi addressing the Cyprus parliament on Monday Nov.20 - Press photo. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi addressing the Cyprus parliament on Monday Nov.20 - Press photo.

Wrap up: what happened during Sisi’s visit to Cyprus?

Wed, Nov. 22, 2017
CAIRO – 22 November 2017: Two days in Cyprus marked the historical official visit for President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Nicosia, during which he met with his Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and held separate meetings with the state’s senior officials, including the Parliament President Demetris Syllouris.

Shortly after his arrival Monday morning, President Sisi placed a wreath of flowers at the memorial of former Cypriot President Makarios III, inside the Cyprus presidential palace in Nicosia. Later, Sisi held a mutual press conference with Anastasiades, during which he thanked him for his country’s previous stances that have always been supportive of Egypt.

Sisi described the relations between Egypt and Cyprus as strong and historical. “Thank you for all of your previous stances that have been supportive of us, and we are looking to enhance and develop our mutual relations, especially in the economic and cultural fields,” Sisi stated.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Nicosia, Cyprus November 21, 2017 -Press Photo

From his side, Anastasiades described Sisi as "his friend," adding that he is looking to boost the two countries' relations and cooperation.

President Sisi and Anastasiades exchanged their highest state honors and witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation agreements. In his speech, Sisi thanked his counterpart for the Order of Makarios III, which is the highest medal of honor in Cyprus. On the other hand, Sisi granted Anastasiades the Order of the Nile, which is Egypt's highest state honor.

The foreign ministers of both countries signed a number of agreements in various fields, including memoranda of understanding in health affairs, security issues and communications.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (R) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are seen during a welcome ceremony the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, November 20, 2017. REUTERS

Afterwards, Sisi headed to the Cypriot parliament, where he gave another speech and met with Syllouris.

Addressing the Cypriot parliament, Sisi referred to the historical relations between Nicosia and Cairo, which started with Egypt supporting the Cyprus Liberation Movement during the 1960s, followed by the friendly relations that grew between former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and former Cypriot President Makarios III.

"I hoped to address all of you today as a complete parliament; however, I'm feeling sorry for the members who decided to boycott parliament sessions since 1963," Sisi said in his speech. He added that he is sure that all of Cyprus's efforts to resolve its situation will end successfully.

He also affirmed that Egypt completely supports Cyprus' efforts and causes.

Sisi then talked about the tensions in the Middle East region, saying, "We are witnessing unstable conditions due to terrorism and illegal immigration; however, we are held responsible before our nations to provide them with security and peace."

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during the latter first official visit to Nicosia Nov. 20, 2017 - Reuters.

He added that Egypt's government considers countering terrorism as one of the major human rights that needs to be considered before anything else.

Later on Monday, Sisi and Anastasiades inaugurated the Egypt-Cyprus Business Forum, which aims to activate bilateral economic and trade relations, as well as explore mutual investment opportunities.

The two Mediterranean leaders signed several memoranda of understanding in the fields of security, communications, medicine and business. In a subsequent press conference, Anastasiades welcomed President Sisi and said that the two countries share strong historic ties.

During the conference, Sisi pointed out that the Egyptian economy has faced a number of challenges and structural problems, in addition to successive political developments. "Therefore, the government has launched a serious economic reform programs since 2014, addressing structural and financial imbalances, and it announced a new ambitious strategy to achieve sustainable development by 2030," he added.

"As a result of the internal economic reforms, the Egyptian GDP increased by four percent over the past two years, the country’s foreign currency reserves recorded $36 billion, an average of 700,000 job opportunities were created annually, and the budget deficit decreased by 1.1 percent in the current fiscal year," Sisi stressed.

Tripartite summit

Tuesday morning, the fifth trilateral summit between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt launched with the participation of Sisi, Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Delivering a speech during a joint press conference with Anastasiades and Tsipras, Sisi expressed his appreciation to Anastasiades for his warm reception and hospitality since his arrival to Cyprus.

Sisi noted that new crises such as the situations in Libya and Syria have emerged, noting that these crises pose a challenge for the three countries in order to adhere to international law principles and support these states and their peoples to overcome the current dangers.

As for illegal immigrants, Sisi noted that it is one of the results of the crises in the region.

On the other hand, Sisi stressed that the summit focused on promoting common economic cooperation to provide job opportunities for youth, who are looking forward to witnessing tangible results in their countries that should preserve their interests and ensure their future.

During the trilateral summit, Sisi, Anastasiades and Tsipras agreed to organize a week entitled “Egyptian, Greek and Cypriot Communities to Revive the Roots” in January, during which those who had previously lived in Egypt could return back during the week to visit the places they had resided in.

Remarkable relations between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus were highlighted during the two-day visit and described by Sisi as a model for successful international relations and cooperation between countries.
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