ATHENS – Greece and Egypt are opposing a deal between Turkey and an element of Libya’s split government dividing up the seas for energy exploration which no other country in the world accepts.
It was signed by Libya’s Tripoli-based government but rejected by the country’s eastern-based Parliament in the divided country that has separate jurisdictions and no clear leadership.
Speaking at a ceremony in Tripoli, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said the deal was in a package of other agreements, said Reuters.
But it wasn’t clear whether it just for show as there were no details about anything material coming out of it or if there would be any hunt for energy in the seas between the countries who claim swathes of Greek waters.
This is a continuation of an agreement signed in 2019 that was rejected by other countries, including Israel, with Turkey and part of Libya wanting to have a monopoly on the waters between them in the Mediterranean.
“It does not matter what they think,”” said Cavusoglu when asked if other countries might object to the new memorandum of understanding. “Third countries do not have the right to interfere,” he added.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry said that Greece had sovereign rights in the area which it intended to defend “with all legal means, in full respect of the international law of the sea,” which Turkey doesn’t recognize.
Greece pointed to a pact with Egypt that set up an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in retaliation to the Turkey-Libya deal. Greece said its deal with Egypt nullified the Turkish-Libya agreement.
“Any mention or action enforcing the said ‘memorandum’ will be de facto illegitimate and depending on its weight, there will be a reaction at a bilateral level and in the European Union and NATO,” the Greek foreign ministry said.
But the EU has been reluctant to confront Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan until now and NATO has made it clear it wants no part of the troubles between Greece and Turkey.
An Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s statement said that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received a phone call from his Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, where they discussed the developments in Libya.
They both stressed that “the outgoing ‘government of unity’ in Tripoli does not have the authority to conclude any international agreements or memoranda of understanding,” Egypt said.
Dendias tweeted that Greece and Egypt challenged the “legitimacy of the Libyan Government of National Unity to sign the said MoU,” memorandum of understanding and that he would go to Cairo.
Turkey supports the Tripoli government of National Unity (GNU) under Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, whose legitimacy is rejected by the Libyan Parliament, furthering the division.
Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, seen as an ally of Egypt, said the memorandum of understanding was illegal because it was signed by a government that had no mandate to issue it at all.