Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted a meeting in Cairo with the attendance of Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Saturday and announced a new regional energy cooperation deal among Egypt, Greece and Greek Cyprus.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Cairo, Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades said the three countries “discussed boosting cooperation in the field of energy, with the belief that the discovery of hydrocarbons in the east Mediterranean can contribute to supporting regional cooperation for stability and prosperity.”
The leaders said they would work to strengthen cooperation on a number of issues, including finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. Cyprus is ethnically divided between Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south. Turkey recognizes only the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) in the north, while the international community recognizes the Greek Cypriot side as the government of Cyprus.
The meeting in Cairo between Anastasiades, Egyptian President Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Samaras demonstrated deepening ties among the three states, which are challenging Turkey’s efforts to chart gas deposits in areas of the east Mediterranean claimed by Cyprus.
The emerging alliance fits Egypt’s interests well. Its relations with Turkey quickly soured last year after Sisi toppled President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement supported by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Turkey.