Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal’s four-day official visit to Cyprus, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal’s four-day official visit to Cyprus,

Egypt rejects Turkish violations in Cyprus' economic zone: Parliament speaker

Tue, Sep. 11, 2018
CAIRO – 11 September 2018: Egypt rejects the violations committed by Turkey in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone and supports its political rights to use the natural resources in the Mediterranean in accordance with the relevant bilateral and international agreements, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal stated.

This came during Abdel Aal’s four-day official visit to Cyprus, where he met with Speaker of the Cypriot House of Representatives Demetris Silores on Monday.

During the meeting, Cypriot and Egyptian Parliament speakers agreed on continuing the discussion on unifying the trilateral exchange between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece and presenting the Cyprus issue before the International Parliament and the Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal’s four-day official visit to Cyprus,

In this regard, Silores thanked Egypt for the firm stance toward the Cyprus issue and its support to Cyprus’ rights to use its natural resources in the Mediterranean and to unify the island of Cyprus without the Turkish intervention in Cyprus' internal affairs.

On the other hand, Abdel Aal called on Cyprus to boost the economic bilateral relations, particularly in the fields of energy and natural gas, which are witnessing a huge boom, to maximize the benefit and serve the economy of both countries.

He stressed that Egypt pays great attention to developing cooperation between the two countries in the fields of natural gas and energy and welcomes the upcoming visit, set to be paid by Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis to Egypt, to sign an agreement extending a pipeline between Egypt and Cyprus.

Furthermore, he called on Cyprus to benefit from the stability and development Egypt is currently witnessing and increase its investments in Egypt.

He further remarked that Egyptian Parliament is a key partner in the reformation and development process; the Health Insurance Law, Investment Law, Illegal Immigration Law and Church Building Law were drafted by the Parliament to complete the economic, social and political reform process adopted by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi since 2014.

The Cypriot Parliament speaker stressed that Egypt is an important strategic partner; hence, it is vital to promote cooperation between the two countries particularly in common issues and challenges.

He referred that Cyprus seeks to increase its investments in Egypt, pointing out that he met with several businessmen as well as the chamber of commerce in Cyprus to organize a conference on touristic, cultural and economic relations between the two countries.

He praised Egypt’s interest in social, political and economic reform and its efforts to combat terrorism.

On the sidelines of his visit to Cyprus, Abdel Aal met with Lakkotrypis, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by the House of Representatives.

Lakkotrypis confirmed that Cyprus seeks to revitalize cruise tourism with Egypt, implementing the Cooperation Protocol signed in November 2017 during the fifth Trilateral Summit between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt on cruise tourism.

Dispute over East Mediterranean region

The East Mediterranean region is rich in natural gas, causing a dispute between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus as Turkey refused to redraw the maritime borders of the region to accommodate the gas fields. In 2011, Turkey carried out naval maneuvers in the region to display its force.

In addition, a dispute is found between Israel and its Arab neighbors over the ownership of some gas fields in the region such as Tamar and Leviathan fields, which contain huge amounts of gas.

Egypt has also been involved in these maritime disputes as some Egyptian experts believe that parts of certain gas fields lie within the Egyptian maritime borders.

Additionally, there has been a conflict between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece for four decades over dividing the island of Cyprus; Turkish Cypriots took control of the northern third of the island in 1974 after military interventions and announced establishing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognized by the international community, but only recognized by Ankara.

On the other hand, Greek Cypriots took over two thirds of the island and established the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the UN and the EU. There are constant efforts by the UN to unite the island, yet they are thwarted by Turkey’s obstinacy in defending the political and economic rights of Turkish Cypriots.

Turkey’s stance on the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt and Cyprus is part of Ankara’s foreign policy regarding the division of the island, since Turkey does not recognize any agreement that the Republic of Cyprus makes without representation from Turkish Cypriots.

Turkey took a stance in opposition to the tripartite alliance of Egypt-Greece-Cyprus since it was announced in 2014; it views the alliance as directed against Ankara because of its tense relations with the three countries. However, Cairo, Athens and Nicosia denied such claims, affirming that the alliance is not directed against any of their Mediterranean neighbors, but the statements could not change Turkey’s convictions and views on the alliance.

Additional report by Mona Soliman
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