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Greece Lodges Complaint to UN over Turkey, GNA Maritime Deal

Greece Lodges Complaint to UN over Turkey, GNA Maritime Deal

Tuesday, 10 December, 2019 - 11:15
A Turkish drilling vessel is pictured on June 24 off the coast of Cyprus, reportedly searching for gas and oil in waters considered part of the EU's exclusive economic zone. (AFP)

Greece has lodged objections to the United Nations over an accord between Turkey and Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) mapping out maritime boundaries as a violation of international law, a Greek government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador in response to the deal last week, infuriated at a pact which skirts the Greek island of Crete and infringes, in Athens's view, its continental shelf.

"This agreement was compiled in bad faith," government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters.

"It violates the (UN) Law of the Sea. The sea zones of Turkey and Libya do not meet, and nor is there a sea border between the two states," Petsas said.

A row over eastern Mediterranean gas reserves offshore has become increasingly shrill with countries in the region jostling to stake their claims.

Turkey has had a long-running disagreement with ethnically split Cyprus over reserves around that island.

Greece and Turkey are at loggerheads over mineral rights in the Aegean Sea, and Greece has accused the GNA of deceiving Athens by negotiating the deal with Ankara signed last month.

It carves out a slanting sea corridor of maritime boundaries at the closest points between Libya and Turkey, potentially clearing the way for oil and gas search there.

The deal also sparked uproar by the Libyan National Army, Cyprus, Egypt and the European Union.

Last week, Cyprus petitioned the International Court of Justice at The Hague to safeguard its offshore mineral rights. President Nicos Anastasiades said Cyprus is committed to protecting its sovereign rights with every legal means possible.

Head of the Libyan parliament in the east, Aguila Saleh has launched a regional tour to rally support against the accord.

“The signing of this agreement without ratification by the Libyan House of Representatives aims to cede the sovereignty of the Libyan State and its legitimate rights to the Republic of Turkey to enable it to invest in this area, which is null and void by all standards,” he said.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the accord would also allow Ankara to carry out drilling on Libya’s continental shelf with Tripoli’s approval, and that the deal was in line with international law.

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