The Foreign Ministers of Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus were encouraged by the support and participation of their French and Italian counterparts who joined them in condemning the recent Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and Libya, declaring it ‘null and void’.
The Foreign Affairs Ministers made their declaration through a unanimous decision following their meeting held in Cairo on Wednesday.
Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias praised what he called the unanimous decision to condemn the Turkey-Sarraj accords as null and void, and expressed his satisfaction with France's participation at the Cairo meeting, and said that even Italy's attendance in a consultative framework contributes to resisting Turkeys' attempts to challenge status quo in the region.
Dendias also added that with regards to Libya once again "we are unfortunately witnessing the same pattern of aggressive behaviour adopted by Turkey in Cyprus and in the Aegean. Actually, on Libya we are in unanimous agreement that the accords on delimiting maritime zones and security cooperation signed between Mr. Sarraj and Turkey are null and void," he underlined and he condemned "the unlawfulness of the latter’s decision to deploy troops in Libya, to 'import' troops or weapons, which constitutes a gross violation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolution and seriously undermines the international community’s efforts to reach a political solution to the Libyan conflict.
Following is the full joint Communique issued by the Greek Foreign Ministry from the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, France, Cyprus, and Greece, in Cairo 8 January 2020:
- Within the context of continued consultations and coordination, the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, France, Cyprus, Greece met in Cairo on January 8, 2020, to discuss the recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region in light of increased tensions that threaten peace and stability in this region, they were joined by the Italian Foreign Minister in a consultative framework.
- The Ministers stressed the strategic nature of their respective States’ relationships due to geographic, historic and cultural bonds, in full accordance with and respect of international law and the United Nations Charter. This relationship constitutes a strong basis for cooperation in multiple fields. The Ministers reiterated their determination to undertake additional joint efforts in order to face increasing challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean region, at the foremost of which are armed conflict, terrorism, and irregular migration.
- The Ministers deemed the signing of the memorandums of understanding in November between Turkey and Mr. Fayez Sarraj the President of the Presidency Council of Libya to be a violation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and international law. The Ministers underlined that these memorandums have further undermined regional stability, and are both considered null and void.
- In addition, the Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding purporting to delimit maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea infringes upon the sovereign rights of third States does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences. Additionally, the Ministers reiterated the necessity of full respect of the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of all States in their maritime zones in the Mediterranean. In this regard, the Ministers strongly condemned continued Turkish actions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus and its territorial waters. The Ministers call upon Turkey to immediately cease all illegal exploration activities.
- The Ministers deemed the security memorandum and any decision to send troops to Libya to be a serious violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2259 and other relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and a threat to regional security and stability, and called for an immediate de-escalation.
- In that context, the four Ministers, have underlined their deep concern regarding Turkey’s recent violations of international law in the Eastern Mediterranean. They expect Turkey to act responsibly and emphasize the necessity for the countries of the Mediterranean basin to cooperate in goodwill and constructively to guarantee the security and stability of the Mediterranean on the basis of international law.
- The Ministers affirmed that a comprehensive political solution is the only way to resolve the Libyan crisis and regain stability in Libya. The Ministers stressed their total commitment to work towards a political solution to the crisis in Libya. They also expressed their keenness to avoid escalation there. In that context, the Ministers of the four States expressed their support for SRSG Ghassan Salame’s efforts, to UN initiatives, and to the Berlin Process.
- The Ministers stressed their respective States’ determination to reinforce mutual cooperation aimed at increasing their peoples’ welfare. They also stressed their intent to continue mutual coordination of their positions and measures aimed to achieve the security and stability of their States and of the Eastern Mediterranean, including through fighting terrorism.
- In conclusion, the Ministers affirmed that priority should be given to regional cooperation and to the comprehensive economic development that all States of the region aspire to, in full conformity with international law. They also affirmed that achieving development will contribute to regional stability and prosperity and that this objective is currently being hindered by the ongoing crises that should be earnestly resolved as soon as possible.
10. The ministers agreed to continue their consultations and to convene their next meeting in Crete