Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

I am delighted to join Ursula and my colleagues (Giorgia, Karl, Kyriakos and Alexander) here in Cairo, and I would like to wholeheartedly thank President Sisi for the warm hospitality as always. Each time I come to Cairo, it is like coming home.

It is also a great honor to be part of such a historic day. A day that marks the launch of the Strategic and Comprehensive Partnership between the European Union (EU) and the Arab Republic of Egypt. Thank you, Ursula, for leading the way and delivering this important document.

It is a day that stands for political commitment, cooperation and leadership.

Cyprus is not only the geographically closest EU Member State to Egypt. Cyprus and Egypt share a deep, historic friendship that in recent years has become a true and deep strategic partnership, anchored on a solid foundations of true friendship.

Cyprus, fully cognisant of the critical role of Egypt as a pillar of stability in the region, has long advocated for the development of a strategic partnership between the EU and Egypt. And today I am proud that we are witnessing its fruition.

The Joint Declaration, signed a few moments ago, marks the beginning of a new era in EU-Egypt relations. The broad scope and strategic nature of the wide-ranging sectors identified in the Declaration, fully reflect Egypt’s indispensable role in Europe’s southeastern flank.

Today we take a substantial step towards making each other stronger in addressing common challenges and in harnessing the potential in our partnership, which is limitless and awaits to be further harnessed.

With Egypt, we also share a common vision for a peaceful Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. It is a vision President Sisi has been a key architect in constructing and implementing, demonstrating true leadership.

Egypt plays a critical role in addressing numerous crises: from Libya to Sudan, Palestine, and the Red Sea.

Specifically in Gaza, Egypt, President Sisi has been exerting tremendous efforts to achieve a ceasefire, to prevent the conflict from spreading, to bring lasting peace, and to provide much needed humanitarian relief for the civilians in Gaza. I want to once again publicly thank President Sisi for his country’s tireless efforts in this respect.

In the same context, I also want to underline yet again that the displacement of Gazans is unacceptable and it also compromises the national security of neighboring countries.

We all agree that it is crucial that we deliver more aid to Gaza. To this end, since the start of the war, Cyprus has worked on providing a supplementary option to the international community for the delivery of aid. Last week, Cyprus, joined by a number of partners, including the EU, always under the leadership of Ursula, has established a safe humanitarian maritime corridor.

I want to stress once again that this effort is of purely humanitarian in nature and complimentary to the existing routes and mechanisms already in place.

In concluding, I wish to stress that Cyprus will continue working with its partners in the EU to see this strategic partnership flourish, particularly with the objective of ensuring peace and stability but also economic prosperity in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa.