FM Dendias cuts visit to Tripoli short after Libyan official tries to ‘force’ meeting

FM Dendias cuts visit to Tripoli short after Libyan official tries to ‘force’ meeting

A meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and the chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Menfi, in Tripoli was canceled at the last minute on Thursday. A few minutes after his airplane landed in Tripoli, the Greek official instructed it to take off for Benghazi, without disembarking.

The meeting had not been originally scheduled to take place during the minister’s trip to Libya but, according to sources in Athens, Menfi had requested that Dendias make a stop in Tripoli to meet with him on the day before the visit. Dendias agreed on the condition that only Menfi and no other person would be present.

When the aircraft landed in Tripoli, however, the foreign minister of the Tripoli government, Najla Mangoush, was also waiting to meet it, at which point Dendias decided to depart without meeting Menfi.

Greek Foreign Ministry sources spoke of a diplomatic “foul,” saying that Libyan authorities had hoped to “force” a meeting, according to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

Mangoush, who is a minister with the Tripoli caretaker government, signed the Turkish-Libyan agreement for hydrocarbon exploration with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in October, which was based on the maritime borders agreement signed by Ankara and the Tripoli-based government in 2019, which has been condemned by the international community.

Athens’ position, with which Egypt is also aligned, is that the term of the current Tripoli government has expired and it cannot legitimately sign international agreements that are binding for the country’s future. The Tripoli government was a caretaker government set up to hold general elections.

Meanwhile, the caretaker government’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Twitter later on Thursday condemning Dendias’ move and vowing to “take action.” [Combined reports] 

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