Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has urged Libya to abandon a deal signed with Turkey in 2019, as he deemed it an "illegal document."
In his talks with the caretaker Prime Minister of Libya, Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, Mitsotakis called for the “cancellation of illegal documents that were presented as alleged transnational agreements but have no legal force, as explicitly ruled by the European Council.”
Mitsotakis was referring to a deal signed in November 2019 between then-Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Libya, a staging point for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants into Europe, has been drawn into a complex diplomatic and territorial stand-off in the eastern Mediterranean that saw Greece and Turkey come close to fighting last year.
The 2019 accord, which prompted Athens to expel the Libyan ambassador at the time, mapped out a sea boundary between Turkey and Libya close to the Greek island of Crete.
“It is the geography that determines the framework of our bilateral relations, and not the artificial lines that some people draw on maps,” Greek City Times reported Mitsotakis as saying on April 6 in Tripoli.
“I, therefore, welcome your willingness to be able to discuss directly and bilaterally issues related to the delimitation of maritime zones – as we should do as neighboring countries – and to continue negotiations which were interrupted in 2010,” he continued.
Mitsotakis was accompanied by Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, government spokesman Aristotelia Peloni and top departmental officials of the Foreign Ministry. He met with Dbeibeh, the head of the presidential council Mohammed Menfi, and visited the Greek embassy in Tripoli which reopened after seven years of closure.
“The European Union and its members are here, and are determined to support the Libyan people, who have suffered so much in the last decade,” the Greek Prime Minister said.
He also called for the immediate and complete withdrawal of foreign troops and mercenaries from Libyan territory.
Dbeibeh, in return, told Mitsotakis that he is willing to form a committee to discuss the delimitation of the maritime zones starting from the point where the talks stopped in 2010.
However, Dbeibeh pointed out that the government is defending the interests of the country it serves by pointing out that the cancellation of the Turkish-Libyan deal is not in question.