GREEK PM MITSOTAKIS

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Greece will block any European peace deal on Libya unless an agreement between the internationally-recognised government in Tripoli and Turkey on maritime borders is scrapped.

 Mitsotakis criticised the fact that Greece, a factor of stability in the region, was not invited to the Berlin Conference on Libya and blamed the Syriza government for that.

“It was wrong that we were not invited,” Mitsotakis said. “We have sea borders with Libya and should have been at Berlin.”

Mitsotakis said he sent letters to the EU to inform them about Greece’s stance and also spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he would touch base with again on Friday.

The PM stressed that the Turkey-Libya memorandums of understanding on maritime zones are illegal and unacceptable and noted that “at EU Summit level, Greece will never accept any political solution for Libya that does not include the abolition of the memoranda. We will veto (such a solution) at EU Foreign Ministers level as well.”

The issue, he pointed out, relates to Europe as a whole, as the EastMed natural gas pipeline, a project signed recently by Greece, Cyprus, and Israel, is significant.

“Turkey didn’t like it because it wants to be a geopolitical player. It’s in Europe’s interests to have such a pipeline,” noted the PM. In addition, the memorandums between Turkey and the Tripoli government were explicitly condemned by the United States, which said that Greek islands have exclusive economic zones (EEZs), while US Secretary-General Mike Pompeo said that the US is guaranteeing Greece’s security.

“To put it simply, we will use our veto even before the matter reaches the summit, at the level of (EU) foreign ministers,” Mitsotakis said.

The PM’s comments were made during an interview with Alpha TV and came a day before his scheduled talks with Libyan General Khalifa Hifter, whose forces are battling the Tripoli government. Hifter arrived in Athens late Thursday and met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.