Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Cypriot House of Representatives President Demetris Syllouris and Hellenic (Greek) Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis held a trilateral inter-parliamentary meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus, last week, in the framework of the cooperation between the Israeli, Cypriot and Greek legislatures. It is the second such summit this year, after a successful meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem in March.
Following a series of meetings with the participation of professionals and experts in various fields, the three signed a joint declaration according to which their respective parliaments will cooperate in various fields, including the proper utilization of water resources, climate change, entrepreneurship, research and education. The parliaments will also focus on academic cooperation.
The document states committees of the three legislatures will share knowledge on various professional issues and hold joint meetings. In addition, the sides will share their findings with other countries from the region and work towards including them in different initiatives. It was further agreed that the parliaments’ websites will document the knowledge that is gained in the framework of the joint initiatives, for the public’s use.
“The cooperation on issues such as water and the prevention of water contamination is of critical importance, also in the framework of the relations with our neighbors,” Knesset Speaker Edelstein said.
“It is better to talk and act now, rather than find out a few years from now, G-d forbid, that the issue had not been treated, and then, if we are in a situation where there are negotiations and agreement on other issues, it will become clear to us that the issue of water resources may launch a new war,” he stated.
Israel, Cyprus and Greece are three democratic countries in a “challenging and complex region,” Speaker Edelstein continued. “Things we take for granted, such as parliamentary elections, opposition and regime changes are not taken for granted in other countries in the region. Therefore, it is only natural that the three countries reach out to one another for the purpose of fruitful cooperation.”
The three parliament heads agreed to meet again in Greece in 2018.
Knesset Speaker Edelstein was accompanied by MK Yakov Margi (Shas), Chairman of the Israel-Cyprus Parliamentary Friendship Group.