Borrell: Turkish-Libyan Memorandum Violates the Rights of Third Countries, Has No Legal Effect

November 17, 2022

BRUSSELS – The memorandum of understanding signed by Turkiye and Libya in 2019 violates the sovereign rights of third countries, does not accord with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and cannot generate legal consequences for third countries, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has replied to New Democracy MEP Manolis Kefaloyiannis.

Kefaloyiannis submitted a question to Borrell after the signature on October 3 of a lease agreement for Libya’s Exclusive Economic Zone, as this was established by the illegal and void Turkish-Libyan memorandum, allowing Turkish companies to carry out exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas. He asked for measures to be taken against this agreement, which violates the sovereign rights of EU member-state Greece.

In his reply, Borrell noted that “the Turkish-Libyan memorandum of understanding of 2019 for the delineation of areas of maritime jurisdiction in the Mediterranean violates the sovereign rights of third countries”, is not compatible with UNCLOS and cannot produce legal consequences for third countries. Regarding the recent agreement to drill for hydrocarbons, he urged Turkiye to avoid actions that undermine regional stability.

It was an essential that all states comply with the international law of the sea, the principle of good neighbour relations, the sovereignty and sovereign rights over maritime zones of all coastal states, including the rights arising from their islands, Borrell said, adding that all members of the international community must conform with these principles.


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