Greece and Libya clashed on Thursday following the last-minute cancelation of the Greek foreign minister’s visit to Tripoli.
Nikos Dendias arrived at Tripoli airport but refused to disembark from the plane when he realized that waiting to greet him on the tarmac was the foreign minister of the Libyan caretaker government, Najla Al-Mangoush, who, in October, signed the Turkish-Libyan oil and gas exploration deal.
The agreement has been blasted by Greece which argues that the mandate of the current Tripoli government has expired and it cannot legitimately sign international agreements that are binding for the country’s future. The Tripoli government was a caretaker government set up to hold general elections.
Dendias had previously agreed to make a stop-over in Tripoli in order to meet the president of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Menfi, on condition that only Menfi and no other person would be present.
Greece accuses Libya of “foul play”
As the Greek foreign minister left Tripoli for Benghazi, foreign ministry sources told the Athens-Macedonia News Agency that the incident was “foul play” on the part of the Libyans who tried to “force” a meeting with Al-Mangoush.
Libya responded by condemning the departure of Dendias and threatened to “take action” without specifying what this would involve.
– Libyan Foreign Ministry: Greek FM Nikos Dendias arrived in Tripoli but refused to get off the plane & shortly after that decided to departure.
– Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangoush was waiting to welcome him.
– We condemn this & will take actionhttps://t.co/PzK4AXbBsr pic.twitter.com/ugCmyVkUs1
— Libya Review (@LibyaReview) November 17, 2022
Mangoush, who is a minister with the Tripoli caretaker government, signed the Turkish-Libyan agreement for hydrocarbon exploration with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in October.
The agreement was based on the maritime borders agreement signed by Ankara and the Tripoli-based government in 2019, which the international community has condemned.
Greece donates vaccines to Libya
Dendias left Tripoli for Benghazi where he donated thirty thousand more doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the Libyan people in addition to the two hundred thousand doses Greece already provided last summer.
“Greece is always willing and able to give you as many doses of vaccines as you can absorb,” Dendias said at the handover ceremony. “Greek society considers health as a public good and all the people of the world are entitled to it.”
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) November 17, 2022