US State Department: Turkey-Libya maritime deal ‘unhelpful and provocative’

US State Department: Turkey-Libya maritime deal ‘unhelpful and provocative’

An agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea signed between Turkey and Libya’s internationally-recognized government is “unhelpful and provocative,” a spokesman from the US State Department has said, adding that Ankara’s claims are contrary to international law which stipulates that inhabited islands are on the same footing as mainland coastline in the delineation of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.

Responding to a question from state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency, the official said that “decisions that fail to take into account the interests of all relevant states are unhelpfully provocative. These developments highlight the risk of Libyan conflict taking on wider regional dimensions.”

“Greece has overlapping maritime claims in the area addressed by the Turkey-Libya memorandum. Contrary to what Turkey has suggested, under international law [the UN Law of Sea] islands are generally entitled to EEZ-continental shelf to the same extent as any land territory,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that “foreign countries that have fueled the conflict should withdraw their forces from Libya, now.” “Countries that purport to support Libya’s stability should immediately withdraw their forces, including Russian mercenaries and Turkish-sponsored Syrian fighters,” the official said.

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