The tripartite cooperation among Cyprus, Greece and Egypt strengthens efforts to tackle common challenges and threats in the region, Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaidis said, following a meeting on Thursday with his counterparts from Greece and Egypt Panos Kammenos and Sedki Sobhy, respectively.

The tripartite meeting took place at the Zenon Coordination Centre in Larnaka, on the south coast of the island.

A press release issued by the Defence Ministry said that regional cooperation on security issues in the Eastern Mediterranean region, particularly maritime and energy security issues, the fight against terrorism, illegal migration and new asymmetric threats were on the agenda of the meeting.

Decisions were also made on a joint military cooperation programme. The three Ministers decided that a tripartite meeting should take place at least once a year and a Coordination Committee was established to look into the implementation of the decisions taken.

Fokaides said that the tripartite cooperation among Cyprus, Egypt and Greece is an extremely important regional initiative that has already yielded results in a number of areas, such as economy, energy, tourism, health and agriculture.

He said that due to the geopolitical instability and uncertainty in our region,  the cooperation should be on the greatest possible level to combat terrorist violence, trafficking of persons and weapons and to create maritime and energy security conditions.

Greek Minister of National Defence Panos Kammenos pointed out that the first exercises that took place in the last two years, with the participation of other countries such as the US and Italy proved that “we can have a common military policy when needed.”

He added that energy policy requires security and that Cyprus is a hub that connects Africa and the Middle East with Europe, while Greece is a hub that connects Southeastern Europe with Central Europe.

In his statements the Egyptian Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi said that their talks confirmed the deep and common military relations of the three countries that have been established for several decades, as a result of the continuous efforts of the leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.

He said that the threats of terrorism and extremism have grown and have become a global phenomenon that affects all countries, pointing out that cooperation and coordination is needed.

He also referred to the decision to have joint exercises and training, exchanges of expertise, research and rescue exercises that will address the challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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