NICOSIA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus, Greece and Egypt have agreed to cooperate in the surveillance of the volatile eastern Mediterranean region to prevent arms and people trafficking, and to fight terrorism and asymmetric threats, the Defense Ministers of the three countries said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The statement said that the ministers also agreed on joint ground, air and naval exercises, exchanging information and cooperating in the exploitation of energy sources in the Levantine region.
The statement said Christoforos Fokaides of Cyprus, Panos Kamenos of Greece and Sedki Sobhi of Egypt held the first tripartite defense meeting of their countries at the air and maritime coordinating center in the southern city of Larnaca.
"We are investing the best possible cooperation to tackle in the best possible way new threats, such as terrorist violence and the illicit trafficking of migrants and weapons and to create security conditions for maritime and energy," Fokaides said after the meeting.
Egypt's Sobhi said it was imperative for the three countries to cooperate in obstructing the movement of terrorists and to freeze their sources of funding and equipment, as well as preventing illegal immigration.
Greek Defense Minister Panos Kamenos said Cyprus will be a hub for the program as it is a node joining Africa and the Middle East with Europe.
"The defense cooperation between our countries ... will make possible to secure a zone within this very sensitive sea region between Suez, Cyprus, Crete and Malta, where there will be no trafficking of drugs and weapons that fund terrorism," Kammenos said.
The ministers said that they agreed to meet at least once a year and to set up a coordination committee to oversee the application of the accord. Enditem