Libya hails deal with Turkey on maritime boundaries

Published 04.12.2019 14:08

A memorandum on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean Sea is important for securing Libya's natural resources, the country's High Council of State said Tuesday.

Libya's U.N.-recognized government has a right to sign memorandums with any country to ensure the country's security and the protection of its resources, the council said in a statement.

Labeling condemnations by Egypt, Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration as strange, the council said it gives great importance to enhancing relations with these countries.

Turkey and Libya signed a deal last week after a meeting between Erdoğan and the head of the Presidential Council of Libya's U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al Sarraj, in Istanbul. The deal enabled Turkey to secure its rights in the Mediterranean while preventing any fait accompli by other regional states.

However, Greece, one of the main regional actors, did not welcome the deal and regarded it as a violation of its rights, though international law deems otherwise.

Greece's foreign minister on Monday threatened to expel the Libyan ambassador to Athens unless provided with details of the agreement reached with Ankara.

Greece wants to see the agreement by Friday "or (the ambassador) will be declared persona non grata and will leave," Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told Skai TV. Previously, Dendias summoned Turkey's Athens envoy Burak Özügergin, demanding an explanation for the case.

Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of former President Moammar Gadhafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, Libya's stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power, one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli, and a host of heavily-armed militia groups.

The military, pushed by Khalifa Haftar's army, allied with a parallel eastern administration based in Benghazi, marking a dangerous escalation of a power struggle that has dragged on since Gadhafi's overthrow. Haftar is not recognized by the international community, as the elected parliament of the country is centered in Tripoli.

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