NEWS

FM: Libyan envoy to be expelled if deal with Turkey not presented by Friday

TAGS: Diplomacy, Turkey

Ankara is attempting to convey the message that Greece has no continental shelf but a plethora of rulings belie these claims, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told Skai television on Monday a few hours after the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement disputing the existence of the continental shelf of Kastellorizo in the southern Aegean.

"There are dozens of decisions by jurisdictional organs that maintain the precise opposite to Turkey," Dendias said, adding that Turkey was hiding behind the fact that it has not signed the Law of the Sea treaty and invoking "groundless things" in the context of negotiations with Greece.

As for the deal signed between Turkey and Libya, ostensibly delineating maritime zones, Dendias said it was very likely that the agreement violates an embargo that the United Nations Security Council has imposed on the supply of arms to Libya. 

He added that Fayez al-Sarraj, as Chairman of Libya's Presidential Council, does not have the authority to sign agreements, and deemed that Libya's Parliament is unlikely to ratify the deal.

Dendias said both the current government and its previous leftist predecessor knew that a memorandum of understanding was being drafted between Turkey and Libya. However, when he broached the subject with his Libyan counterpart in September, the latter had acknowledged that, although discussions were under way, such a deal would be problematic and could not be signed.

He added that, if the Libyan ambassador to Greece does not present authorities with the agreement by Friday, they will be declared persona non grata and expelled. 

As for a decision over the weekend by Greece and Egypt to speed up the delineation of their respective exclusive economic zones, Dendias indicated that it was not a kneejerk reaction to Turkey's actions. "Greece does not link its diplomatic tactics to what Turkey does," he said. "We have had 10 rounds [of talks] with Egypt on the delineation of its EEZ and in the context of examining developments we decided to speed up the process."

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