NEWS

EU poised to reject accord between Turkey and Libya

VASSILIS NEDOS, GIORGOS BOURDARAS

TAGS: Turkey, EU, Security, Diplomacy

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels for a second day on Friday are expected to issue a statement rejecting a Turkey-Libya maritime border deal as invalid and insisting that the pact interferes with the rights of other countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. 

Arriving at the summit on Thursday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appeared confident that Greece’s EU peers will stand by the country in the face of Turkish provocations. “Europe is raising diplomatic walls against Turkey’s provocations,” he said, adding that Greece has “very strong allies” it can rely on. 

Meanwhile, Turkey confirmed that it had sent its accord with Libya, which includes the coordinates designating maritime boundaries between the two countries, to the United Nations for approval on Wednesday. Nonetheless, Greek diplomatic sources said on Thursday that that had been expected and is of “no legal consequence.” 

The same sources added that “Greece has anyway already submitted its views with its letters to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council, which elaborate Greece’s positions and present the legal arguments based on international law.”  

Kathimerini understands that Ankara is also attempting to entrench its military presence in Libya based on a military agreement it has signed with the Tripoli-based government.

Given that the foreign countries most involved in Libya (Italy, Russia, France and the US) are opposed to the prospect of a permanent Turkish presence in the North African country, President Recep Tayyip Erdgogan wants to present any Turkish forces there as a “peace force.”

Sources also said that Erdogan has informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of his intentions. Moscow, however, remains opposed to a Turkish military presence in Libya.

In Athens on Thursday, the eastern-based head of Libya’s parliament, who is aligned against the Tripoli-based Libyan government that signed the deal with Turkey, reiterated his rejection of the accord.

“We are here to stress that this specific agreement is rejected, it is invalid,” Aguila Saleh Issa said in comments in Greece’s Parliament. “Those that signed it do not have any legal authority to do so, since the government itself was rejected,” he said, referring to the administration’s failure to win confidence votes.

Issa, who met with his Greek counterpart Konstantinos Tasoulas and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, said the accord essentially preyed on the rights and interests of the Greek and Libyan people and said his country would get it annulled on the basis of international law.

Washington’s legal analysis of a maritime border agreement between Turkey and Libya contradicts Ankara’s claims, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt has said according to the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

US experts who studied the memorandum of understanding reject Turkey’s claims regarding maritime zones and, more specifically, continental shelf delimitation, Pyatt reportedly said, adding that inhabited islands should be regarded in the same way as the mainland.

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