Greece and Libya’s top diplomats agreed on Monday that all foreign mercenaries and fighters must withdraw from the North African country and that elections must be held as planned on December 24. “The biggest challenge we face is safeguarding Libya’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias told Libya’s Najla El Mangoush in a meeting in Athens.
Calling on Greece to help ensure that the timeline for elections is upheld amid fears that they could be held up by the pro-Turkish faction in the transitional government, Mangoush stressed that “security and stability in Libya means security and stability for Greece and the European Union.”
Her comment echoed Dendias who, assuring her of Greece’s support, said that “instability on the southern shores of the Mediterranean affects every country in the wider vicinity.” He also said that he plans to ask EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell for Mangoush to be invited to address an upcoming EU foreign ministers’ lunch.
In what is seen as a reference to Turkey after his meeting with Mangoush, Dendias said that “in contrast to other countries, Greece is not seeking to turn back the clock and turn Libya into a de facto colony of foreign interests.”
In a more explicit dig at Ankara, moreover, he said that he hopes December’s elections in Libya lead to a government that will “free it of weights from the past, such as the null, void and illegal ‘Turkish-Libyan memorandum’” on maritime zones.
Dendias, meanwhile, also plans to travel to Tunisia on Tuesday, where he is expected to meet with President Kais Saied and Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi. He will also meet with Health Minister Ali Mrabet to deliver 100,000 Covid-19 vaccines that are being donated by Greece.