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Greece on Alert Over Turkey-Libya Hydrocarbon Deal

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Athens is alarmed by the deal signed by Turkey and Libya. Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Greece has expressed concern over a hydrocarbon deal struck by Turkey and Libya on Monday, saying that it may contain provisions that are based on the 2019 Turkey-Libya Memorandum that are illegal under international law.

The details of the deal signed in Tripoli have not been made public, but Ankara says that a memorandum of understanding in the field of hydrocarbons was signed and is likely to conclude another one on natural gas.

“The hydrocarbon agreement we have just signed aims [at] cooperation between Turkish companies and Libyan companies, such as exploration and drilling both on land at sea, with a win-win understanding,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoushthe.

“Third countries have no right to interfere in an agreement signed by two countries,” he said, referring to Greece who criticized the deal for violating its own sovereign rights in the Mediterranean.

The agreement is valid, he noted, calling on Libya to mark its own territorial waters and register them to the U.N.

Greece concerned over Turkey-Libya deal

Greece is closely following developments in Libya, a statement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

“Greece has sovereign rights in the area, which it intends to defend using all legal means, with full respect for the International Law of the Sea,” the statement adds.

Greece has proceeded to a delimitation of its EEZ with Egypt, an agreement that has been concluded in accordance with the International Law of the Sea and notes that the Turkish-Libyan “memorandum” of 2019 is illegal, invalid, and non-existent.

“Any reference or action taken in implementation of the said “memorandum” will be de-facto illegal and, depending on its gravity, there will be a reaction both at a bilateral level and at the level of the European Union and NATO.

“Greece will continue to inform its partners and allies about Turkey’s destabilizing role,” the statement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Turkish-Libyan “memorandum” of 2019 was also condemned by the US

The Turkish-Libyan “memorandum” of 2019 was also condemned by the US as “counterproductive and provocative.”

Greece has overlapping maritime claims in the area addressed by Turkey-Libya memorandum, contrary to what Turkey has suggested, under international law (Law of Sea),” a State Department spokesman was quoted as saying. “Islands are generally entitled to EEZ and continental shelf to [the] same extent as any land territory.”

He also noted that “decisions that do not take into account the interests of all States concerned are provocative.”

The EU reacted to the deal by Turkey and Libya. Spokesman Peter Stano called for clarification of what exactly the Turkish-Libyan agreement entails and noted that if it is based on the 2019 deal, it goes against the Law of the Sea and infringes on third states’ rights.

“The new agreement has not been made public yet,” Stano said. “Further clarifications are needed on its content. Actions that could undermine regional stability should be avoided.”

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