Libya’s Tripoli government signs economic deals with Turkey

20221004 043226

The memorandums of understanding were signed by both countries in Tripoli, paving the way for further bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon and oil sectors. A gas deal is also expected, confirmed Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, during a news conference that followed the signings.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. For years the country has been split between rival administrations, one based in the east and one in the west, each supported by rogue militias and foreign governments. The past months have seen an uptick in deadly militia clashes.

Turkey has been a prominent backer of Libya’s Tripoli-based government, headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. Ankara’s support for Tripoli’s previous Government of National Accord helped turn the tide of Libya’s civil war. By supplying Tripoli-backed forces with advisers, equipment and intelligence, President Recep Tayipp Erdogan's government helped thwart a year-long campaign by Gen. Khalifa Hifter — commander of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces in the country’s east — to take the capital.

In 2019, Turkey also signed a controversial maritime border deal with the former Tripoli-based administration, granting it access to a contested economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The deal re-ignited Turkey’s pre-existing tensions with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights.

Along with the new economic deals, Libyan Foreign Minister Najla El Mangoush said that both delegations agreed to “mobilize international efforts to support a short roadmap for Libyan elections.”

Libya, which has been split between the rival administrations for years, was supposed to hold elections in December 2021. However, the elections were cancelled by Dbeibah following a disagreement over how the electoral process would be conducted. In response, the country’s east-based parliament appointed a rival prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, who has for months sought to install his government in Tripoli.

In a statement published after the press conference, Bashagha condemned the agreements and said the signing of such deals was only “the inherent right of an elected authority.”

Athens: “The violation of the Greece-Egypt agreement will not be allowed”

According to diplomatic sources, the issue of the Turkey-Libya agreement on the exploitation of Libyan energy resources by Turkey is being closely monitored by Greece.

The same sources emphasized that respecting the Greece-Egypt agreement on the delimitation of the EEZ of 2020 is absolutely vital. It will not be allowed to be violated and trigger yet another hotbed of tension in the Mediterranean.

In any case, Greece will defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights on the basis of International Law and especially the International Law of the Sea.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs is informing allies and partners.