EU ‘concerned’ over Turkey-Libya memorandum

EU ‘concerned’ over Turkey-Libya memorandum

European Union foreign ministers on Monday expressed their solidarity and support to Greece and Cyprus and their concern over the memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya.

“It is clear that this document is a cause of serious concern. We express our solidarity and our support to Greece and Cyprus,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s new chief diplomat, during a press conference after the meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels.

However, despite the concerns expressed, when asked if the accord was illegal, Borrell said that he “never said the agreement is illegal,” noting that EU authorities are still “examining it.” He said that it was clear the MoU is “problematic” for Athens and Nicosia as the sea zones divided by Turkey and Libya include Greek islands and Cyprus.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias called for the explicit condemnation of the MoU and the creation of a framework for sanctions if Turkey and the Libyan government in Tripoli persist. He said that he explained in “the clearest way that Greece will do whatever it takes to defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights.” He said that Greece received support from France, Italy, Cyprus and the Netherlands during the meeting.

Meanwhile, leaving no room for any misinterpretations regarding Ankara’s intentions, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters on Monday that Turkey’s goal is the “fair distribution of all resources in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus.”

Striking a defiant tone, Akar stressed that no decision can survive that does not include Turkey and “everyone should be aware of it.” Cyprus, he insisted, is Turkey’s business.

At the same time, in a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seen by Kathimerini, Aguila Saleh, Libya’s parliament speaker in the country’s rival power base in the eastern city of Tobruk, denounced the Tripoli government that signed the pact with Turkey as an “illegal entity.” Saleh rejected the notion that the two states share common maritime boundaries, stressing that the state of Libya is not bound by the treaty.

Saleh is expected to visit Athens on Thursday.