CYPnaval 2019_e-Booklet Defence & Security 4BLUE ECONOMY - Page 8

Keynote address Mr. Nikos Christodoulides Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus * Presentation was given by Mr Evangelos Savva Head of Security Policy Dep, Political Affairs Division Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus Esteemed guests, Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends, On behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, I wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the organizers of today’s Conference and for the invitation to share our thoughts on the subject of the security environment of the Eastern Mediterranean, a subject constantly gaining in significance and which now features prominently, and almost daily, in the realm of public policy discussions, both among experts and practitioners, but also more widely in the sphere of public opinion. Let me say, at the outset, that systemically, the geopolitical dynamics of our region have more often than not been characterized by strife and turbulence, rather than accord and stability. Competition amongst great powers and also of course amongst regional actors is a common feature of the international system and even more so in this particular corner of the world, where the crossroads of three continents converge. Given our geographical location, any and all developments in the Eastern Mediterranean affect us in a multitude of ways. We cannot simply tune off and ignore what happens at our doorstep. That, clearly, can never be a viable option. Cyprus is compelled to engage with its neighborhood and devote time and energy to ensure a high level of quality in its engagement. This is a fact which comprehensively frames and underpins our approach. The core of this approach is self-evident but at the same time it is an arduous, challenging task: to create a solid structure of stability and cooperation, which in turn fosters peace and prosperity. The two are inexorably inter-linked and mutually reinforcing for obvious and wellunderstood reasons. This specific approach permeates our regional vision and guides our foreign policy. It is a blueprint which places Cyprus as an anchor of stability and connects the Eastern Mediterranean and its security architecture to the overall security structure of the European Union. Our partners and the institutions of the EU know all too well that failing to effectively address the various issues and challenges in our region can and probably will have a tremendously adverse effect on the continent itself. The migration crisis of 2015 which remains a potent challenge with wide-ranging ramifications, but also the continuing battle against radical extremism, demonstrates the saliency of this argument. In advancing, with concrete actions, the narrative of “stability and cooperation breeds peace and prosperity”, Cyprus embarked a few years ago on an ambitious initiative to inter-link our neighboring countries in a web of trilateral cooperation mechanisms. Working closely in tandem with Greece, and others in the region - such as Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine – we have formed partnerships that constitute a prime example of good neighborly relations, a fundamental pillar of the EU itself actually in the conduct of its relations with third countries. The multi-faceted synergies that have already been created through these mechanisms forge closer cooperation in a wide variety of policy fields, whether in security, trade, technology, innovation, education and others. 1/3