CYPRUS: League of Arab States-EU summit hailed as important milestone

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the meeting of the EU-Arab partnership is an important milestone, which highlighted that strategic relations contribute to regional peace, security, stability and economic growth.

In his intervention at the first Plenary Session of the League of Arab States � European Union Summit, President Anastasiades said transnational challenges such as terrorism, regional conflicts and humanitarian crises, migration, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change are a global source of instability and regrettably, instability and conflict are the predominant characteristics of the wider region itself.

Anastasiades said In Syria, the war is far from being over. ISIS and other terrorist groups may have been weakened, but certainly not eliminated and the war continues to have a deep impact on neighbouring countries, i.e. Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon which have had to shoulder a disproportionate burden. They need our continued support.

In Yemen the vicious circle of violence has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis this world has seen in decadeswe welcome the Stockholm Agreement, we are also aware of the challenges for its implementation and that further steps are required to put an end to this conflict.

Anastasiades also referred to the humanitarian refugee crises and migration flows that are a constant source of instability, creating rapid demographic changes and heavy economic and social pressures. We need to collectively tackle the root causes in order to address the issues effectively.

He said that we cannot talk of prosperity and stability in the region while the Palestinian issue remains unresolved and the objective should be the establishment of a sovereign, viable and contiguous Palestinian state on the territories occupied since June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side-by-side in peace and security with all its neighbours.

We urge and hope for a successful outcome of the efforts for intra-Palestinian reconciliation and the de-escalation of the fragile situation in Gaza, said Anastasiades, adding that this will be a decisive step forward.

Cyprus, he said, strongly believes in establishing synergies in the immediate and wider neighbourhood, through the creation of cooperation fora with partners such as Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

Our vision is a more stable and prosperous region and to this end we engage with a positive agenda in many issues of mutual interest, including security, energy, climate change.

President Anastasiades introduced to delegates a regional initiative to undertake an international initiative and coordinate the efforts of Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region to ameliorate climate change and its impacts.

We are ready to take this vision forward, with the development of a regional Action Plan, which will be subsequently adopted in an International Conference, for recording and mitigating climate change, in sectors such as the environment, agriculture, tourism and health.

This initiative will be supported by cross-disciplinary on-going research and will develop an inclusive dialogue forum — a platform where national and regional stakeholders can discuss science-based practical solutions to challenges related to climate change.

In effect, this effort will serve as an important and innovative regional contribution to the implementation of both the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

Source: The Financial Mirror