German foreign ministry spokesperson Christopher Burger stressed on Wednesday that one of the principles of international law is that it is not possible for two states to enter into an agreement at the expense of a third country when commenting on the memorandum on fossil-fuel exploration signed by Turkey and Libya.
"If, in this case, two states enter into an agreement at the expense of Greece, then in all cases Greece is not bound by it and, in this sense, it has no legal effect," Burger noted.
The spokesperson said he would have to return to the issue after a detailed assessment of the latest step but also pointed out that, as a general principle of law, it was not possible for two parties to "agree" that something belongs to them and not to a third party.
"...it is a principle of international law that states cannot conduct transactions with each other at the expense of third parties. We know this also from civil law.
"Two parties cannot come to an understanding that something belongs to them and does not belong to some third party," he said, adding that the principle that two states cannot enter into an agreement at the expense of a third also applies in international law.
It also comes as a statement released by Lead Spokesperson for External Affairs of the European Commission Peter Spano on Monday rejected the legality of the 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and Libya.
“The EU recalls that its position on this Memorandum has been clearly stated by the European Council in December 2019 and remains unchanged,” read the statement, adding that “the 2019 Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states.”
“The new agreement has not been made public yet. Further clarifications are needed on its content. Actions that could undermine regional stability should be avoided,” it concluded.
The statement was released following the announcement that Libya’s Tripoli government signed a series of preliminary economic agreements with Turkey on Monday that included potential energy exploration in maritime areas, but Libya’s eastern-based parliament rejected the move.