Resurrecting Relations: Greek-Libyan Diplomatic Dialogue Signals a New Era

Minister of State Minister of State George Gerapetritis. miles mile

After several years of virtually nonexistent relations, Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis spoke on the telephone Wednesday with his Libyan counterpart Najla Mangoush, signalling that contacts between Athens and Tripoli are at a turning point in the effort to build functional channels of communication.

The development is not unrelated to the normalization in recent months of Greek-Turkish relations. The 2019 Turkish-Libyan memorandum was the main stumbling block in Athens-Tripoli relations.

According to diplomatic sources, Gerapetritis stressed the need to relaunch relations between Athens and Tripoli and to open direct channels of communication while reminding his interlocutor of Greece’s decision to upgrade its diplomatic representation in Libya by accrediting a Greek ambassador in Tripoli after almost a decade.

When the embassy reopened in 2018, a chief of staff was appointed in view of an improvement that never happened. Gerapetritis and Mangoush agreed to meet in person in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Athens’ willingness to restart relations comes at a time when Ankara is also taking steps toward rapprochement with actors in Libya such as Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya.

In his previous capacity as the commander of the Turkish Intelligence Services (MIT), Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan was a key player in the negotiations with the Tripoli government that led to both the Turkish-Libyan memoranda of understanding on maritime zones and Turkey being granted the right to establish bases on the territory of western Libya.

​​​​​​Despite the fact that the current government is not authorized by the letter of international law to sign treaties, it is well known in Athens that the main game in Libya is being played out in Tripoli.

Despite Libya’s unique circumstances, everyone is keen to engage with the current leadership, as indicated by recent accords signed between Tripoli and the Georgia Meloni-led Italian government.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024