News ID: 262559
Published: 0146 GMT December 06, 2019

Greece to kick out Libyan ambassador over Turkey-Libya pact

Greece to kick out Libyan ambassador over Turkey-Libya pact
REUTERS
A Libyan flag flutters atop the Libyan Consulate in Athens, Greece, on December 6, 2019.

Greece said on Friday it was expelling the Libyan ambassador, furious at an accord between Libya and Turkey signed on November 27 that maps out a sea boundary between the two countries close to the Greek island of Crete.

Mohamed Younis A.B. Menfi had 72 hours to leave the country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told a news briefing. Dendias called the Turkey-Libyan accord a “blatant violation of international law,” Reuters reported.

The move did not mean Greece was severing diplomatic relations with Libya, Dendias said. Another Foreign Ministry official said Libya had ‘deceived’ Greece.

“This is a legally invalid document,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament.

“Not only is it geographically and historically invalid – wiping Greek islands off the map – but because it led Turkey to an unprecedented diplomatic isolation,” he said.

“It’s just a piece of paper nobody recognizes.”

The Libyan Embassy in Athens said it had no comment.

The expulsion is the latest twist in a saga of Mediterranean states jostling to claim yet-untapped oil and gas in the region.

Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya signed the accord in November defining their boundaries and a deal on expanded security and military cooperation, a step Turkey said was protecting its rights.

Greece immediately shot back, calling the accord absurd because it ignored the presence of Crete between the coasts of Turkey and Libya.

Greece asked Libya for details of the deal last week.

“The text of this agreement carries the signature of the Libyan foreign minister. It is the same person who, in September, had assured the Greek side otherwise,” Dendias said.

 

Mitsotakis said the speaker of Libya’s Parliament would be in Athens in coming days for consultations.

Greece and Turkey are at odds over a host of issues ranging from mineral rights in the Aegean Sea to ethnically-split Cyprus. Tensions are also running high because of Turkish drilling off Cyprus, and the European Union has prepared sanctions against Turkey in response.

On Thursday, Cyprus said it was petitioning the International Court of Justice to safeguard its offshore rights.

 

   
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