President Nicos Anastasiades has condemned the terrorist attack on a mosque in Egypt in which 305 people were killed on November 24th, saying a destabilised Egypt would mean a destabilised Europe. An embattled Egyptian President Sisi (pictured) is seeking balance in the Middle East amid a feud between Iran and Saudi Arabia, while handling internal terrorist attacks on a major scale.
The attack by militants on hundreds of worshippers on a mosque in the Sinai is unprecedented and contemptible, said Sisi’s ally President Anastasiades. It highlights the need to cooperate with Egypt and Cyprus would be a strong voice in the EU about combating terrorism in the country, he added. It’s not clear what the EU can do about the situation, given that it is still trying to handle the Syrian refugee crisis and civil war. But given rising regional tensions in the Middle East, there may be no choice but to develop a strategy to increase support for Sisi.
A few days prior to the attack, President Sisi was in Cyprus on a state visit amid heavy security and anti-terrorist precautions, including helicopter surveillance. The visit came after the controversial resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who stepped down amid heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Cyprus and Egypt are deepening their cooperation on security and a number of other bilateral areas, and have signed an agreement on their Exclusive Economic Zones. The maritime agreement is disputed by the Turkish Cypriots, whose representatives issued a statement saying they don’t recognise it, and that they would be talking to ‘motherland’ Turkey about their options.