Greece Expels the GNA-Affiliated Libyan Ambassador Over Illegal Deal with Turkey – Al Marsad

The Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias said today that he was expelling Libya’s ambassador, Mohamed Younis al-Menfi, who had 72 hours to leave the country. Dendias called the Turkey-GNA accord a “blatant violation of international law”.

[Libya, 6 December 2019] – The Greek Foreign Minister condemned the maritime boundaries agreement signed between Turkey and the Government of National Accord (GNA) and said it constituted a blatant violation of the international Law of the Sea as well as of the sovereign rights of Greece and other states, the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday in which it condemned the pact.

Ambassador Mohamed Younis al-Menfi arriving today at the Greek Foreign Ministry.

The full text of the purported “MOU” was leaked yesterday and the text showed that it was not a typical standard MOU but it was attempting to be a full and binding agreement, thereby infringing both the Libyan and international legal process.

Dendias said the move to expel the GNA-affiliated Ambassador did not mean Greece was severing diplomatic relations with Libya. However, the Foreign Minister had asked Ambassador Menfi to provide the details of the deal last week but it failed. According to Greek news site Ekathimerini, Dendias said: “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.” Meanwhile, the GNA-affiliated Libyan embassy in Athens said it had no comment.

According to Greek authorities, the agreement apart from being illegal and producing no legal effects,  it also underscores Turkey’s intention to provoke tension on a bilateral as well as regional level.

The Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias

After the announcement by Foreign Minister Dendias, the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the pact has no legal merit and would collapse. Addressing Parliament today he said the texts on which the memorandum of understanding was based “produce no legal effects.”

“They are oblivious to history and geography as they do not take Greek islands into account,” said Prime Minister Mitsotakis, adding that Ankara’s move had pushed the NATO country, Turkey, into “unprecedented diplomatic isolation.”

The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

“They have endorsed a document that they signed off themselves. It is recognized by no one and it means nothing,” Mitsotakis said. “We will do everything in our power to make sure it does not come into effect,” he added, as reported by Ekathimerini. He also expressed his confidence that the European Union will throw its weight behind Greece as it tries to “defend its national and sovereign rights.”

In addition, the US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt has deplored a maritime boundaries agreement and said it was detrimental to stability and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek Prime Minister Greece met with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London. The meeting, according to reports, was held in a frosty atmosphere lasting 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, Cyprus petitioned the International Court of Justice at The Hague to protect its offshore gas reserves from meddling by Turkey, President Nicos Anastasiades said Thursday. “We have said we will use every legitimate and legal weapon, in every international forum, to defend the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, and the petition to the The Hague has this purpose,” Anastasiades told reporters.

The agreement signed by the Tripoli-based GNA with Turkey has come into robust criticism by Libyan authorities and it was regarded as null and void by the Libyan parliament, the House of Representatives.