Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

At the outset, I wish to express my deep appreciation to Egypt, to President Sisi, for organizing this important Summit at this critical juncture for our region. Egypt’s role as a bedrock and promoter of peace and stability in the region is critical.

Cyprus is participating as a country of the region – the closest EU member state - whose security is directly affected by the developments in the Middle East.

Cyprus is also present as a neighboring country with excellent relations with all countries of the region, ready to contribute and assist in any way possible to de-escalate this conflict and facilitate the transfer of humanitarian assistance.

The high level of representation is indicative of the urgency to overcome the crisis and to engage in a dialogue in order to find viable solutions to the complex and recurring challenges our region faces.

In this regard, Cyprus’s approach to tackling the current crisis is governed by the following elements:

1. Terrorism is a common threat for all of our countries and there is never any justification; we have therefore unequivocally condemned Hamas’ terrorist attack of the 7th of October.

2. The fact that Hamas, does not represent all Palestinian people or the Palestinian cause.

3. The right to self-defense must always be exercised in line with international law, including international humanitarian law.

4. The need for permanent de-escalation.

5. The vital importance of protecting all civilians - the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is unacceptable.

6. Ensuring that humanitarian assistance reaches Gaza. We fully acknowledge Egypt’s pivotal role, also in this respect. To this end, Cyprus stands ready to assist in any way possible.

7. The need for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.


8. The recommitment to a viable two-state solution, in line with the parameters reflected in relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. This can be the only viable solution to the problem. It is abundantly clear that we have no other option but to create the conditions for the resumption of a meaningful peace process.

Our region cannot afford to continue addressing its crises in fire-fighting mode. What this crisis, as well as other recent crises have taught us, is that there are no frozen conflicts. That in the absence of viable, lasting peace, there is always the risk of erupting conflict, with devastating consequences and ripple effects.

In the vacuum created in the absence of fair and viable political solutions that address the root causes of conflicts, we will not see an end to the cycle of violence.

The current conflict also presents a serious national security threat that cannot be overstated and should not be underestimated, particularly for the countries of our region. For example, Egypt and Jordan, are shouldering enormous migratory burden. They cannot be expected to shoulder any more.

Moreover, we fully understand and appreciate Egypt’s legitimate, real concerns because we know that Egypt is a catalyst of stability in our region and its security should not and cannot be jeopardized.

We also share the fear that, as has often been the case in the past, our neighborhood will disproportionately bear the brunt of the consequences of this conflict.

We cannot be expected to do that on our own. This is not a regional crisis of limited concern or impact. It is fundamentally a question of international peace and security and a challenge that our global collective security system must respond to.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, whose presence here today I very much welcome, must be given space to contribute decisively to peacemaking in the Middle East and to contain the ramifications of this crisis.

Our region cannot afford further instability. It is in dire need of peace, stability, and security.