Greek PM Mitsotakis: “We Want a Say in the Libya Peace Process“ – Al Marsad

Greece wants to be included in UN-sponsored talks in January in Berlin on the Libya conflict, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Sunday, as tensions escalate with neighbors Turkey over the issue.

[Libya, 29 December 2019] – “We do not want a source of instability in our neighborhood. Therefore we want a say in developments in Libya,” he told the Greek daily newspaper, To Vima, in an interview. “We want to be part of the solution in Libya, as it concerns us too,” he said.

“(Libya) is our natural maritime neighbor, not Turkey’s,” said Mitsotakis. He added that his intention is for Greece and Turkey to discuss their differences about maritime zones in the Aegean and East Mediterranean on a political and diplomatic level.

“I have requested, and will do so again with greater insistence, that we participate in the Berlin process,” Mitsotakis said.

“But we should say clearly that if we can’t find a solution then we should agree that the one difference that Greece recognizes (over maritime zones) must be judged in an international body like the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague.”

It should be recalled in this context that Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Libya Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS), has called last week for the inclusion of Greece in the forthcoming Berlin Conference on Libya.

In an interview with Sputnik, Dr. Nayed said, “I met with Mr Ghassan Salamé and his deputy Ms. Stephanie Williams in Cairo last week, and I pointed out that Berlin is a commendable effort, however, it has some vital shortcomings. One of them is the non-presence of Libyans and important countries like Greece, for example, which is directly affected. And if Turkey is there, Greece should be there too.”

Turkey wants to lay claim to much of the Mediterranean for energy exploration. Greece and Cyprus say the MOU signed by Turkey with Fayez Al-Sarraj of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) is void and violates the international law of the sea. They see it as a cynical resource-grab designed to scupper the development of East Mediterranean gas and destabilize the region.

Cyprus has petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to safeguard its offshore mineral rights. There has been no response so far from Turkey to that initiative. The ICJ has the power to issue binding decisions.

© Al Marsad English (2019)
Sources: To Vima, AFP, and Asharq Al-Awsat

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