EXCLUSIVE: Full Text of the GNA-Turkey Agreement Claiming to be an MOU Revealed – Al Marsad

EXCLUSIVE: Al Marsad obtained an exclusive scanned copy of the controversial MOU signed between the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Turkish government of Recep Erdogan on maritime jurisdiction. The text of the agreement clearly indicates that it is a binding and integrated agreement rather than the MOU it purports to be.

The text and content of the GNA-Turkey maritime boundaries and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) indicates that it is a binding and integrated agreement concluded under the name of a Memorandum of Understanding, but is is subject to the terms and conditions of the agreements and not the memoranda.

The full scan of the English text of the agreement:

The text of the purported MOU is indeed peculiar and uses language and implication that is not in keeping with a memorandum.

For example, in Article IV it states that “Any dispute between the Parties arising out of the interpretation or implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding shall be settled through diplomatic channels in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation in accordance with ARTICLE 33 of the Charter of the United Nations.” A Memorandum of Understanding is a serious agreement, however they are never legally binding unless they become full legal agreements that follow all stipulations required for its force. What is interesting is that Article 33 states that any dispute that is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security should first be addressed through negotiation, mediation or other peaceful means, and states that the Council can call on the parties to use such means to settle their dispute. It is therefore baffling why an MOU would have such inclusion of possible dispute that would require settlement through a serious recourse to Article 33? Unless, of course, the MOU was not really an MOU but was full fledged and binding agreement.

The entire Article IV section, and its detailed breakdown of dispute clauses is unfamiliar to a typical MOU and once again indicates that the am of the text more serious than it was made out to be to the Libyan public.

Article III of the Maritime Memorandum of Understanding stipulates that it “shall be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations pursuant to ARTICLE 102 of the Charter of the United Nations” in connection with international agreements and treaties.

More importantly, in Article VI of the GNA-Turkey maritime Memorandum of Understanding it states indicates that each party shall refer it to its consecutive parliament for approval and ratification. This explains why the Turkish party referred the said MOU to its parliament today because it is a procedure related to agreements between states and not memorandums.

However, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord has not sought approval, neither it is willing to seek approval, from the only legitimate Parliament of Libya, the House of Representatives. The GNA is therefore in breach of not only of the Skhirat Agreement, but given the stipulations here it also breaches its own MOU, that is the “internal legal procedures” it must follow for the agreement to become effective. The GNA has failed to meet the stipulated requirements. It is clear from the text of the agreement that this is not an Memorandum of Understanding but rather a full fledged agreement between two countries. 

Earlier today, the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee endorsed the controversial deal, which would give Turkey access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean, paving the way for a final vote in the parliament’s general assembly later in the day.

The full Arabic text of the agreement:

The full Turkish text of the agreement is here:

The President of the Libyan Parliament, Aguila Saleh in his letter to the UN Secretary General, urged the United Nations Security Council to issue 3 steps:

1 – The issuance of a resolution to withdraw its recognition of the Government of National Accord

2 – The recognition of what emanates from the sole legitimate body, the Libyan House of Representatives.

3 – The non-recognition of the aforementioned Memorandum of Understanding and considering it as non-existing. In this regard, we reiterate our affirmation that the Libyan House of Representatives, which is the internationally recognized legislative authority in the country, does not recognize the referred-to Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of National Accord and the Republic of Turkey. The Libyan state is completely relieved of any resulting obligations whatsoever.

In Libya, in addition of the House of Representatives (HOR, the Libyan National Army (LNA), boycotting members of the Presidential Council, think tanks such as the Libya Institute for Advances Studies (LIAS), and many institutions and notables from across Libya—have also added their voice in protest and strongly condemned the GNA for signing the agreement with Turkey and thereby threatening the Libya’s national sovereignty and peace and stability in the Mediterranean.

After examining the document diplomatic sources in Libya, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus and other affected countries have said that the the memorandum of understanding on maritime borders signed between Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord has no legal standing. The content of the document contravenes the provisions of the international Law of the Sea. As an MOU it is not binding, and if it is an agreement that claims to be more than just an MOU and assumes full legal force, then it contravenes the established Libyan and international norms.

Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and France, along with the EU and the US State Department, have also issued stern official condemnations of the agreement along with the EU and the US State Department.

© Al Marsad English (2019)