Legitimacy of Turkey-Libya memorandum challenged by Greek & Egyptian foreign ministers

Sameh Shoukry Nikos Dendias Libya

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry discussed on Monday the legitimacy of the Turkish-Libyan memorandum of understanding related to energy deals.

It was also agreed that Dendias would visit Cairo for consultations on Sunday.

Greek foreign affairs ministry statement

Greece is following developments in Libya very closely, “especially Monday’s signing of a ‘memorandum of cooperation’ between the Government of National Unity (GNU) of Libya and Turkey in the field of hydrocarbons,” the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry noted in a statement released on Monday evening.

Greece, the ministry added, “holds sovereign rights in the area, which it intends to defend by all legal means, in full respect to the International Law of the Sea.”

It was added that Greece has demarcated its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with Egypt, an agreement signed in full respect to the International Law of the Sea.

As set by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Greece maintains an ipso facto et ad initio right to a continental shelf, which, in the absence of a bilateral agreement, is defined by the median line, it was pointed out.

The “Turkish-Libyan ‘memorandum’ of 2019 is illegal, invalid and non-existent, therefore no entity has any right to invoke it,” it was stressed.

“Any action or reference in implementation of said ‘memorandum’ will be de facto illegal, and -depending on its gravity- will carry a reaction both at the bilateral level and at the level of the European Union and NATO,” stated the ministry.

In this context, it was noted that “Greece will continue to inform its partners and allies about Turkey’s destabilizing role.”

Finally, the ministry expressed “satisfaction for the statements of the president and of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee of the Libyan House of Representatives regarding the invalidity and lack of legality of the memorandum signed today in Tripoli.”

Dendias also met with US Ambassador George Tsunis on Monday to “discuss the latest developments in Libya,” the Greek ministry tweeted.

For their part, the opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance party said in a statement on Monday that the signing of the “new memoranda of cooperation between Turkey and Libya in the energy sector on the basis of the illegal memorandum of November 2019 constitutes yet another extremely unfavorable and dangerous development for the interests of Greece.”

This announcement, continued the main opposition party, “comes only a few days after [Greek Prime Minister] Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with the head of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Menfi, at the [77th] UNGA, without even raising the issue of the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum, and after two years of systematic exclusion of Greece from European sessions on Libya, in which Turkey actively participated.”

It also comes “a few days after Mr. Mitsotakis publicly confirmed that Greece’s ‘red line’ is the defense of its sovereignty at 6 nautical miles, and not the defense of its sovereign rights in the EEZ and its continental shelf,” Syriza continued, emphasising that “in this context, Turkey announces -for the first time- investigations west of the 28th meridian in the Eastern Mediterranean on the basis of an illegal memorandum.”

READ MORE: Libya’s Tripoli government signs economic deals with Turkey.