Greek PM threatens veto over Libya as Haftar visits Athens

Greek PM threatens veto over Libya as Haftar visits Athens

Expressing his dismay that Greece was not invited to attend Sunday’s Berlin Conference on Libya, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis vowed on Thursday to veto any solution on the North African country if the maritime border deal between the Tripoli-based government with Turkey is not scrapped.

“Greece will never accept any political solution for Libya at the European Council which does not have as a precondition the annulment of the memorandum with Turkey,” he said in an interview with Alpha TV on Thursday during which he bemoaned that Greece was “wrongly” not invited to the Berlin conference which will discuss the crisis in the North African country. 

Mitsotakis also revealed that he has sent letters outlining Greece’s positions to his European Union counterparts, and European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

“Apart from our interest in Libya, [the letters] also focus on the unacceptable memorandum that Turkey signed with Libya,” he said, adding that he will also talk on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. 

The memorandum has been roundly condemned by Athens and the EU as illegal as it violates Greece’s sovereignty. Moreover, Athens sees it as part of a wider bid by Turkey to dispute Greece’s rights in the Aegean and the East Mediterranean.

Asked what he would do if Turkey sends a seismic vessel into Greek territorial waters, Mitsotakis said, “Whatever is needed.” He clarified however that he would do whatever is needed to avoid such an eventuality and that channels of communication with Turkey remain open.

Meanwhile, Libya’s Khalifa Haftar, commander of the eastern Libyan forces, arrived in Athens on Thursday night and held an informal meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias ahead of their official talks on Friday. He will also hold talks with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Parliament.

Haftar has expressed his discontent over the decision not to invite Greece to Berlin and his visit is seen to be part of the wider diplomatic effort by Athens to bolster its position and to secure that no decisions are taken there that will hurt Greek interests.

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