EU-League of Arab States meeting an important milestone, says Cyprus President

President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades said the meeting of the EU-Arab partnership is an important milestone, which highlights the acknowledgement that our strategic relations contribute to the efforts to address the multifaceted challenges in our common region and to promote peace, security, stability and economic growth.

In his intervention at the first Plenary Session of the League of Arab States � European Union Summit, on Sunday, 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 our wider region itself.

This Summit, and the Declaration to be adopted, is a Statement of the relevance and necessity for an ever stronger partnership and our commitment to this end, he remarked.

In his intervention, President 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, ie Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon which have had to shoulder a disproportionate burden. They need our continued support, he remarked.

Other conflicts have resulted in dire humanitarian crises testing our moral values. In Yemen the vicious circle of violence has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis this world has seen in decades, adding that although we 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.

President 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 remarked.

Turning to terrorism, President Anastasiades said it has affected the lives of all as radical extremism has brought asymmetrical threats to Europe and in the Arab world and remarked that Egypt, continues to suffer and is in a constant battle to combat this scourge noting that collective and coordinated action is indispensable.

Anastasiades further 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.

The Cypriot President further noted that the only way to effectively address common challenges and threats is to act together adding that the basic principles underlining such a collective response are: adherence to international law, respect and promotion of human rights, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of states and good neighbourly relations. Our efforts must be underpinned by trust, solidarity and shared responsibility.

Cyprus, he said, strongly believes in such efforts and has been active in establishing synergies in our immediate and wider neighbourhood, including through the creation of cooperation fora with partners present here today, 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, said the President, adding that it is well known that countries located in the region of Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, which is classified as one of the global hotspots, are considered as highly vulnerable to 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, he added.

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: Cyprus News Agency