Greece expressed anger on Thursday over the decision by Germany to exclude her from the upcoming Berlin Conference on Libya, in which Turkey will participate.
Using careful diplomatic language, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Twitter that he had held a phone call with Jan Kubis, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Libya, and noted that Athens was dissatisfied with not receiving an invitation.
Dendias said they also discussed the issue of Libyan refugees and cooperation with the UN in this regard.
In phone call, FM @NikosDendias discussed dvpts in #Libya w/ #UNSG Special Envoy @UNJanKubis & expressed dissatisfaction at Germany's decision not to invite Greece at the Berlin Conference meeting. They also discussed co-operation with #UN @Refugees in Libya pic.twitter.com/cB9zqTKqj9
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) June 3, 2021
Speaking earlier on Thursday at the 9th International Growth Conference in Patras, Dendias said that he has expressed Greece’s dissatisfaction to his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
New era for Greece-Libya relations
He emphasized that over recent months Greece “has a direct dialogue and communication with the Libyan side,” and suggested participants to the Berlin Conference urge Libya not to activate the Turkish-Libyan memorandum, which is in any case “legally non-existent,” and to push for the “immediate withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries.”
Dendias had visited Libya in April, opening a new era for Greek-Libyan relations, as he vowed Greece “is back” in Libya.
Following up from the issues already discussed during the visit of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Libya in early April, FM Dendias also brought up the issue of maritime delineation, condemning the memorandum signed between Turkey and the previous Libyan government.
Libya conference to prepare ground for elections
The second Berlin Conference on Libya is scheduled to be held on June 23, with the main focus on general elections and the removal of foreign forces from the war-weary country.
The conference, announced on Tuesday by Germany, will take stock of the “next steps needed for a sustainable stabilization of the country”, read a statement by the country’s foreign ministry.
Talks will mainly focus on preparations for national elections planned for December 24, as well as the withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libya. They will also look at the creation of unified security forces for the North African country.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas underlined that the bid for peace has been a long process and “we ourselves were often not sure if the targets we have set can be reached.
“But after the developments in recent months, we are cautiously optimistic and therefore it also makes sense to invite participants of the first Libyan conference at the foreign ministers’ level to ensure that the path that has now been taken in Libya is continued,” he said at a news conference.
The meeting will take place at the level of foreign ministers and follows up on a first Berlin conference held in January 2020 at which leaders agreed to respect an arms embargo and push Libya’s warring parties to reach a full ceasefire. Germany has been trying to act as an intermediary.
The countries that have been involved in the process include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with Italy, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.