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Greece and Egypt Blast Turkey-Libya Gas Deal

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry. Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On Sunday, Greece and Egypt proclaimed a deal between Turkey and Libya for hydrocarbon exploration in Libya’s Mediterranean waters as illegal.

Last Monday, Turkey said it had signed a memorandum of understanding on exploration for hydrocarbons in Libya’s seas with the authorities in Tripoli.

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 [and] at sea with a win-win understanding,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoushthe.

Turkey-Libya agreement threatens security, Greece says

This agreement threatens stability and security in the Mediterranean,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in Cairo, where he met his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

The deal follows an agreement Turkey signed three years ago with Tripoli that demarcated the countries’ shared maritime borders.

Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus believe the 2019 agreement violates their economic rights in an area suspected to contain vast natural gas reserves.

“We will use all legal means to defend our rights,” Dendias added.

He said Tripoli “does not have the necessary sovereignty over this area” and that the agreement is, therefore, “illegal and inadmissible.”

Dendias stressed that no country in the world has the right to cede anything that does not belong to it.

“No government can grant to Turkey rights of exploration in areas where it does not exercise sovereign rights,” said Dendias. “Turkey, by blackmailing, and applying pressure on Libyan actors has tried to establish a legal monstrosity. I am referring to the 2019 ‘memorandum.’ This so-called ‘memorandum’ was internationally denounced as illegal, invalid, and non-existent.”

“It clearly violates the fundamental principles of the International Law of the Sea [, and] it was never ratified by the Libyan Parliament.,” Dendias added. “As a matter of fact, it was denounced by the Libyan Parliament.”

Dendias said, “Three years later, Turkey seeks, once again, to take advantage of a turbulent situation in Libya in order to further destabilize the Mediterranean region and establish regional hegemony.”

Egypt: Libya government has no legitimacy to sign agreements

Shoukry charged that the authorities’ mandate in Tripoli has “expired” and that “the government of Tripoli does not have the legitimacy to sign agreements.”

A rival Libyan administration in the war-torn country’s east, which since March has been attempting to take office in Tripoli and argues the government’s mandate has expired, has rejected the accord.

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