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Politics

Greece Ties Restored, Libya Will Talk Scrapping Turkey Seas Deal

TRIPOLI, Libya — After Greece renewed diplomatic relations, Libya’s government said it’s willing to talk about the possibility of backing out of a deal with Turkey dividing the seas between them and claiming waters around Greek islands.

Libya has okayed negotiations with Greece about the issue of maritime zone delineation, government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said after Prime Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Tripoli.

Speaking on SKAI radio, she said the transitional administration of the North African country has proposed the creation of a technical committee to review the issue, no word how that was taken in Turkey.

Greece wants Libya to scrap the agreement that saw Turkey quickly go into waters around the Greek island of Kastellorizo with plans to hunt for energy, and planning to do the same off Crete.

Peloni said the deal was invalid and “groundless” anyway and it hasn’t been recognized by any other country or the United Nations but Greece wants Libya to go through the formality of officially ending the pact.

Peloni said the agreement also had eroded relations with Libya by the European Union which wouldn’t sanction Turkey for the deal nor for planning to resume an energy hunt in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.

Meeting Libya’s caretaker prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, Mitsotakis said Greece wants the “cancellation of illegal documents that were presented as so-called transnational agreements but have no legal force, as explicitly ruled by the European Council,” said Kathimerini

Dbeibeh said he was willing to talk about it and set up a joint committee at the same time he said the deal is separate from Libya’s relations with Turkey, also encouraging further Greek-Turkish talks that are ongoing.

Mitsotakis welcomed Dbeibeh’s willingness “to be able to discuss directly and bilaterally issues related to the delimitation of maritime zones – as we should do as neighboring countries and to continue a debate which was interrupted in 2010.”

This should be done, he added, with respect to international law, “which is the compass with which friendly states resolve such disputes,” although Turkey doesn’t recognize the United Nations Law of the Sea.

Mitsotakis said there were chances for economic cooperation with Libya but didn’t mention whether those would be pulled back if Libya sticks with Turkey. 

But while he was in Libya, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel were in Ankara talking with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Turkey’s unpenalized energy hunt in waters around Greece, an EU country.

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