Greece has responded to Turkey’s purported maritime agreement with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli by meeting with senior representatives of the House of Representatives in Tobruk, which has established a rival government and armed forces (the Libyan National Army, or LNA, under the command of Khalifa Haftar) contesting the authority of the GNA.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited Libya on Wednesday the 1st of July, where he met with speaker of the Tobruk-based Libyan parliament Aguila Saleh. During the meeting he expressed support for the House of Representatives and the government it has created, as well as underscoring the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) role in combating terrorism and the Turkish incursion into the country,
Parliamentary spokesman Fathi al-Marimi later stated of the meeting:
“The Greek Foreign Minister recognized the legitimacy of the House of Representatives and the role of the national army in combating terrorism and countering the Turkish incursion.”
According to the parliamentary spokesman, Dendias and Aguila Saleh discussed the maritime agreement between Ankara and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and focused on ways to solve the Libyan conflict.
Greece was one of several Mediterranean nations to express vehement opposition to the agreement between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj which seeks to establish an exclusive economic zone across the Mediterranean Sea. LINK
Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias later commented on his meeting with the President of the Libyan House of Representatives via his Twitter account.
“We discussed the delimitation of maritime zones between Greece and Libya, in the context not of the arbitrariness that constitutes the so-called “memorandum” Sarraj-Turkey, but of international law, in continuation of the talks between Greece and Libya in 2010.
We have agreed that Turkey has a historic responsibility for what is happening in Libya today, as President Macron rightly said yesterday. The transfer of mercenaries from Syria and the violation of the arms embargo are elements that burden the Turkish stance. They create, as I said before, historical responsibilities.”
The two parties also agreed that Libya requires the removal of all foreign forces in order to deal with the Libyan crisis, and that the Berlin Process and also the initiative by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi should be pursued. LINK
218 News website reports that the meeting also produced a draft maritime agreement, which will be considered by the parliaments of the two countries:
Media of the House of Representatives announced that the visit discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways of enhancing them in a way that serves the interests of the “two friendly peoples” as the meeting dealt with the possibility of opening a Greek consulate in Benghazi to enhance trade exchange between the two countries.
As for the unannounced news, it indicated that the two parties discussed the possibility of demarcating the maritime borders, in order to cut the road on Turkey’s eastern Mediterranean interventions, which provoked many countries headed by Greece, then Italy, and even France.
The news that came after the meeting of Aqia in Dindias indicated that there is a maritime agreement to demarcate the borders and will be approved by the Libyan parliament and the Greek parliament as legislative bodies in the two countries.
Greece had opened a path with Cairo to reach a similar result, and today it is seeking to conclude an agreement with Libya. LINK
The more forthright attitude of Greece and its efforts to forge relations, and possibly a maritime agreement, with Libya’s House of Representatives in response to Turkey’s deals with the GNA suggest that Turkey will face increasing resistance to its expansionist ambitions. It is probable that Greece and Egypt will also work to enhance their bilateral ties to defend their respective interests in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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