Greece, Cyprus and Israel, along with the United States, confirmed on Wednesday their commitment to promoting peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean region, in a joint statement following the 6th trilateral Summit Meeting in Jerusalem.
The meeting was attended by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the participation of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The full joint statement reads as follows: "The governments of the United States, the State of Israel, the Hellenic Republic, and the Republic of Cyprus met today in Jerusalem to affirm their shared commitment to promoting peace, stability, security, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Secretary Pompeo underlined U.S. support for the trilateral mechanism established by Israel, Greece, and Cyprus, noting the importance of increased cooperation. The leaders agreed to increase regional cooperation; to support energy independence and security; and to defend against external malign influences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Middle East. They welcomed the recent natural gas find in the Eastern Mediterranean and its potential to contribute to energy security and diversification."
PM Tsipras & summit partners' statements on arriving in Jerusalem
The purpose of the 3+1 summit in Jerusalem "is rather important: to create a secure transport network of energy resources from the eastern Mediterranean region, namely from Israel, from Cyprus and from Greece into Europe," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed in comments during a meeting among Greece, Cyprus and Israel with the participation of the United States.
Speaking on the creation of the East Med submarine gas pipeline, Tsipras said it would "help both the regional talks concerning security dialogue as well as the regional economic growth."
The trilateral summit meeting includes the participation of Greek, Cypriot and Israeli government officials, and, for the first time, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In brief statements at the start of the meeting, Tsipras, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pompeo said that developments in the East Mediterranean and cooperation in the fields of energy, security and defense, economy and migration are key issues in this summit.
Tsipras observed that it is the sixth time this trilateral summit takes place, adding that all three countries "have grown stronger during that time," and that "our trilateral collaboration has become more strategic, especially in the areas of energy and security." US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's participation, Tsipras said, "underlines the US's support for our strategic partnership, and this engagement strengthens our efforts and our dialogue, especially in the field of energy but also in security and the economy." He also added that the region is facing some challenges, but also has great potential.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Tsipras, Anastasiades and Mike Pompeo, saying that "it is one of the best peripheral collaborations in the world," adding that "we are cooperating everywhere, from tackling fires to energy, and we are designing the East Med pipeline from Israel to Cyprus to Greece and to Europe."
Netanyahu underlined that this collaboration "will benefit our economies, will bring stability in the region and prosperity to our people," and put the emphasis on energy sources and the new routes that will bring them towards Europe.
The importance of Mike Pompeo's participation was also praised by Netanyahu, "as it symbolizes the US's support for this regional effort. We welcome cooperation," he said, "not only with the US but also with other countries."
"Today marks a great moment, and I want to thank my good friend, prime minister Netanyahu, for convening this historic meeting here in Jerusalem," said the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
He noted that the presence of the US Secretary of State "is tangible proof that our three countries are reliable partners with the US, particularly in the field of energy and security, and they also serve as pillars of stability in the East Mediterranean region." Anastasiades went on to say that "our vision and actions towards an East Mediterranean energy corridor are an excellent example," while assuring about Cyprus' "unconditional commitment to this credible and stable partnership, which aims to create the necessary security, stability and prosperity in our turbulent area, through concrete actions."
The Cypriot president said that this is indeed "our large-scale vision," and that "we are extremely happy the US Secretary of State is here to take on the importance of this on behalf of the US.
Anastasiades said he looks forward to a productive debate on issues of common interest, such as energy, security, and to show respect for sovereign rights as well as the protection of energy and maritime activities and, of course, alternative energy sources," said the Cypriot President.
In his brief speech, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo interlinked the issues of energy and security and pointed out that when, last week, he spoke with a large group of heads of energy organizations in Houston, he emphasized that the right opportunities are indeed being developed by the creation of infrastructures, and that this will be most beneficial.
Pompeo underlined that "the US, Greece, Israel and Cyprus are significant basic partners in security and prosperity," and that he looks forward to these talks in Jerusalem.
He also pointed out that cooperating on energy issues will strengthen both prosperity and security in these countries, while highlighting that powers like Iran, China and Russia have expansionist tendencies in the Middle East as well as in the West. "We are free countries, free-market countries, working together and working to create energy infrastructures, this is when better security follows, and if we do it properly we will attract investment and maximize these resources, as it happens when good infrastructures in free markets brings about these results," Pompeo said.