Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to visit Libya on Tuesday, hoping to normalize relations between Greece and the North African country after the UN-recognized government signed a controversial maritime agreement with Turkey in 2019.
Government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni announced that Greece will be reopening its Embassy in Tripoli, which will mark the resumption of relations with the neighboring country.
“Greece supports Libya’s new government and is ready to support its effort to lead the country to credible and inclusive elections and consequently to political normality and reorganization,” she added.
“The reopening of the Greek Embassy in Tripoli and the re-establishment of the General Consulate in Benghazi will significantly contribute to the strengthening of bilateral cooperation in all sectors, particularly in energy, construction and security, with great prospects for economic and trade relations,” Peloni said.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will accompany Mitsotakis in his visit to Libya, where he is expected to meet the head of the presidency council, Mohammad Menfi, and Interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah.
“New page” in Greece-Libya relations
“We are looking forward to a new page in the two countries’ relations, written in accordance with the principles of international law and goodwill. It is important for Libya in this new era to get rid of the baggage that pulls it down, such as the presence of foreign forces and mercenaries in its territory,” Peloni stated.
Greece’s embassy in Tripoli has been closed since July of 2014, when a Greek Navy frigate and two Greek other vessels helped to evacuate nearly 200 Greeks and other foreigners as the capital descended into chaos and militia violence.
The Greek PM’s visit signals shifting trends in the region, the Arab Weekly says in a commentary.
During the Libyan civil strife, Athens had backed eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar after the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed a controversial maritime agreement with Turkey in 2019.
Athens is fiercely opposed to the deal between Ankara and Tripoli, which claims much of the Mediterranean for energy exploration and as an Exclusive Economic Zone, conflicting with rival claims by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt.
The 2019 maritime agreement was also condemned by the US.