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Dendias visits Libya, Egypt, Cyprus

TAGS: Diplomacy

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias went to Benghazi, Libya Sunday morning, where he met with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army, which is fighting the Tripoli-based, UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Dendias’ visit follows that of Aguila Saleh Issa, President of the Benghazi-based Libyan House of Representatives, in Athens on December 12. Dendias was subsequently in contact with Issa.

Haftar has been appointed by, and is loyal to , the House of Representatives.

A Greek Foreign ministry announcement says that talks centered on the situation in Libya and prospects of ending the civil war there.

Dendias talked about the two “unfounded” memoranda signed between Turkey and the Tripoli government, on common maritime borders and Turkish military aid, developing Greece’s positions that they are contrary to international law and the law of the sea.

Dendias stressed the need for a political solution, saying he supports the efforts of the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salamé to that end.

Dendias then left for Cairo, where he is meeting his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, and went on to Larnaca, Cyprus for a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides.

After the meeting with Christodoulides, Dendias was asked if the EastMed deal signing was an answer to Turkey’s deal with Libya.

“What we’re doing is not in reaction to anything," he said. “It’s an effort to improve the quality of life of our countries’ citizens, to improve our economies and to offer solutions, and EastMed is a great energy boost to the European Union’s energy options.

“We don’t see our initiatives as being directed against anyone," he added. “We see them as positive steps, and we invite whomever to take part as long as they agree with the wider framework."

Christodoulides, however, said there is a need to counter Turkey’s recent actions.

“We have common goals and approaches and I believe that the proper framework is being created to counter the actions of some who wish to create conditions of instability in the eastern Mediterranean by violating international law,” he said.

“All countries which perceive international law as the natural state of things are welcome to take part in our common initiatives,” Dendias added.

[Kathimerini/AP]

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