The Greek Foreign Minister announced on Friday that his country decided to expel the Libyan ambassador due to his inability to reveal the details of the maritime military agreement that Tripoli signed with Ankara at the end of last month and raised tension in the region.
“I regret to announce that the Libyan ambassador has been summoned to the ministry this morning and informed of his deportation”, Minister Nikos Dendias told reporters, noting that the ambassador has 72 hours to leave Greece.
On November 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed agreement with the Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj, military and security cooperation agreements, in addition to maritime jurisdiction.
Dendias said that Athens “strongly condemns this agreement, which seeks to define the maritime areas between Turkey and Libya, in violation of international maritime law and the rights of Greece and other countries”.
“There is no border between Turkey and Libya”, said ministry spokesman Alexandros Guinimatas, stressing that the law cannot be based on “illegitimacy”.
On the occasion of a debate in Parliament, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared that the agreement “eliminates from the map some Greek islands” and imposes “diplomatic isolation on Turkey”.
He added that the agreement was “condemned by the United States, the European Union, Egypt and Israel”, adding that the issue will be addressed during the European summit in Brussels next week.
For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Çavuşo condemned the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador, describing the move as a “mistake”.
“The expulsion is not suitable for diplomatic decency”, he told Turkish television from Rome.
Is it fair to threaten a country?”
The discovery of gas and oil reserves off the coast of Cyprus in the southeastern Mediterranean has in recent years sparked a row with Nicosia, backed by Greece, the European Union, and Ankara, which occupies the northern part of the island.
And the Greek sakf stated that after the Turkish parliament ratifies the agreement, Ankara will lift the United Nations demarcating its “exclusive economic zone” in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek Prime Minister considered that because of the complicated situation in Libya, it has no legal value because it won’t be signed by the current government in Tripoli.
He declared that “the agreement will collapse from its birth”.
And next Wednesday, Aqila Saleh Issa, head of the Libyan parliament, will visit the Greek capital, and he “opposes this agreement”, according to Athena.
Dendias had threatened on Monday to expel the Libyan ambassador to Athens if he did not reveal the details of the military agreement, which Athens said he was unable to do.
Dendias insisted that the measure does not mean severing ties with Libya.
For his part, the Libyan government confirmed, on Friday, that Greece’s decision to expel the Libyan ambassador to Athens was “unacceptable”.
This came on the tongue of Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala, in statements to the Free Libyan Channel (especially), after Greece announced the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador against the background of signing the two memo of understanding between Libya and Turkey.
“Greece does not have any diplomatic representation in Libya, and if it is present, we will similarly expel their ambassador”, Siala said.
He pointed out that the decision to expel the ambassador “concerns Greece and we’ll reserve our right to conclude understandings with whom we want”.
And Siala stressed that “Greece has the right to resort to the international judiciary in case it objects to the memorandum of understanding that we concluded with Ankara”.
He pointed out that Greece “has delayed understanding with us regarding the demarcation of the sea border since 2004”.