Egypt and Greece affirm Libya’s outgoing GNU 'not authorised to sign international deals'

Amr Kandil , Tuesday 4 Oct 2022

Egypt and Greece have affirmed on Monday that the outgoing Government of National Unity (GNU), whose mandate in Tripoli has expired, is not authorised to sign any international agreements and MoUs, according to a statement released by the Egyptian foreign ministry.

Egypt Greek FMs
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias


Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias agreed on this stance in a phone call hours after the Tripoli-based GNU government headed by Abdel-Hamid Dbeibah signed a series of preliminary economic agreements in the hydrocarbon and oil sectors with Turkey.

The two foreign ministers discussed the latest developments regarding bilateral relations and regional issues, in particular the developments in Libya in the framework of continuous coordination between the two countries, according to a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry.

The new agreements between the GNU and Ankara were signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush in the Libyan capital.

The agreements may also include energy exploration in maritime areas, Cavusoglu said in a press conference after the signing ceremony in the Libyan capital.

Cavusoglu was accompanied in Tripoli by a high-level delegation also including Turkey's energy, defence and trade ministers.

Turkey has provided economic and military support to successive GNU governments in Tripoli, as a deadlock between rival governments in the east and the west of the North African country has prevented holding of national elections that could end more than 11 years of civil war. 

In a statement, the Greek foreign ministry condemned the deal, stressing that any measures that aim to implement the 2019 Turkey-Libya maritime demarcation agreement are illegal.

In 2019, Ankara and another former Tripoli-based government signed a controversial maritime border deal with Turkey that granted Ankara access to a contested economic zone in the Mediterranean.

At the time, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus condemned the deal as a stark violation of international maritime laws.

“Depending on [this measure’s] gravity, there will be a reaction both at the level of bilateral relations and at the level of the European Union and NATO,” the Greek foreign ministry said on Monday.

Greece “has sovereign rights in the region, which it intends to defend using all legitimate means,” the ministry stressed.

Local media in Greece quoted Geek diplomatic sources who emphasised that respecting the Egypt-Greece deal in 2020 is absolutely vital.

In 2020, Egypt signed an agreement with Greece for the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between the two countries.

“We shall not allow any violations of the deal that would trigger yet another hotbed of tension in the Mediterranean,” the Greek foreign ministry said.

Egypt, Cyprus and Greece have all rejected Turkey’s oil explorations in recent years inside Cypriot territorial waters, deeming them “unlawful and unacceptable.” 

Egypt, Greece and Cyprus are members of  the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), an eight-state economic organisation that aims to maximise use of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Egypt, which has supported the holding of long-delayed elections in Libya to end the conflict in the country, has called on all sides to raise the national interests of all Libyans above any narrow considerations.

Cairo has also called for the removal of all foreign militias from the country as a step towards a peaceful resolution of conflict.

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