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Mediterranean leaders seek help with huge refugee burden

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- The leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Jordan pledged a new partnership Tuesday with tighter cooperation on fighting terrorism, and rallied international support for countries hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said that three-way talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras aimed to jointly bolster security in the eastern Mediterranean.

Abdullah said his country is working with others to close off all routes for extremists and that there can be no let-up despite successes in Iraq and Syria.

"Terrorist groups cannot be allowed to regroup and establish footholds elsewhere," said Abdullah.

The three leaders also urged the international community to offer more support to Jordan and other countries which have borne the brunt of a mass influx of Syrian refugees.

"We are shouldering an immense refugee burden and cannot be left alone as we undertake this humanitarian responsibility on behalf of the world," Abdullah said.

Anastasiades and Tsipras said they would ask fellow European Union member countries to lend more assistance to Jordan.

The three leaders also weighed in on the Mideast peace efforts, urging the resumption of talks between Israelis and Palestinians and voicing support for a two-state solution.

Abdullah said a peace deal should make east Jerusalem the capital of an independent Palestinian state. He also alluded to US government's decision to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"No unilateral decision on Jerusalem will change the legal and historical facts or undermine the rights of Muslims and Christians to the holy city," he said.

It's the first time the countries held a trilateral meeting, which follows similar talks that Cyprus and Greece have engaged in with countries including Egypt and Israel.

Officials have said the tripartite meetings are intended to enhance cooperation on security as well as a promising offshore oil and gas search in the tumultuous region.