CAIRO – 9 October 2022: The energy exploration agreement recently signed by the Libyan outgoing Government of National Unity and Turkey is null and void, the Egyptian and Greek foreign ministers said in a Sunday press conference, calling on the UN to take a “clear stance” on that cabinet.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the Libyan Government of National Unity was selected via a UN mechanism during the Libyan political dialogue to accomplish a roadmap that ends with elections. It is, however, not entitled to sign agreements or memoranda.
“The agreement was clear and had a specific time frame that ended June 22. Therefore, this situation that is not based on any measure of legitimacy should not be deal with,” Shoukry added.
The Libyan outgoing government signed agreements with Ankara last week whereby Turkey may explore for hydrocarbon and oil in Libyan territories, including Libyan waters. Egypt’s minister urged parliamentary and presidential elections in Libya as soon as possible and the support of the Libyan House of Parliament to find a legitimate entity that represents the Libyans.
Meanwhile, the two ministers agreed that both Cairo and Athens have stability in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean as a strategic goal and that all mercenaries and foreign forces must leave the North African country.
Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in Cairo that his country has taken several steps to support the Libyan people, such as opening an embassy in Tripoli and establishing economic projects in Benghazi.
He added that the outgoing Libyan government no longer represents the Libyan people and may not sign any agreements, emphasizing that Greece “strongly condemns this agreement, which is the same that Egypt, the European Union, the UN, and many other countries have done.”
Dendias claimed that Turkey exerts pressure on political forces in Libya, reiterating that the agreement violates the international and Libyan laws. He also said that Turkey obtained the right to drill in Libyan waters three years ago, which jeopardizes security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean. Dendias was referring to the maritime demarcation agreement signed by Turkey and the authorities in Tripoli in 2019, which was also rejected by Egypt and Greece.
The Greek minister set the scenario of Athens signing another agreement that ignores the island of Sicily, asking what the international reaction would be like. Likewise, Turkey completely ignored Greek islands in the eastern Mediterranean when it signed its agreement with the outgoing Libyan government, he continued.
He underscored Greek’s intent to defend its rights in all legal means possible and to stop the undermining of international peace and security.
The two countries signed a maritime demarcation deal in 2020 which effectively creates an economic zone between them. The deal, however, is recognized by the UN, unlike those of Turkey.
Similarly, Turkey refused to recognize the demarcation, alleging it is “null and void” and infringes upon both Turkish and Libyan borders.