Greece responded sharply on Thursday to news that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had referred to the Muslim Brotherhood faction, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, as the legitimate government of Libya.
In an interview published Thursday in the Italian daily La Repubblica, Stoltenberg said “In Libya there is an arms embargo that needs to be respected by all sides. However, this doesn’t mean to put on the same level the forces led by Haftar and the government of Fayez al-Sarraj, the only one recognised by the UN.”
“For this reason, NATO is ready to give its support to the government of Tripoli.”
Reminding NATO officials that no such decision has been taken by its member countries, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexandros Yennimatas stated that NATO’s foreign policy decisions must be unanimously agreed upon by member countries.
He further declared that Stoltenberg’s recognition of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya ”Clearly does not reflect the positions of the Alliance.”
The Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accord (GNA), which was created in a 2015 UN-led political deal, had a two year mandate, which expired in 2017.
Sarraj, who has the support of Turkey and many jihadist organizations in Libya, has been under attack by the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, since April 2019.
Haftar, a Philhellene, is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Greece and France, as well as Russia’s Wagner Group paramilitary organization.
Haftar’s troops have regained control of the majority of the population and land from Muslim Brotherhood troops, even as Turkey has sent thousands of Syrian terrorists, including ex-ISIS fighters, to Libya to prop up the Muslim Brotherhood government in the capital.