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Libyan Speaker Says Turkey-GNA Deal Invalid, EU Leaders Set to Reject it

Libyan Speaker Says Turkey-GNA Deal Invalid, EU Leaders Set to Reject it

Thursday, 12 December, 2019 - 18:00
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

Libyan Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh Issa on Thursday said he disagreed with an accord between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey establishing maritime boundaries which has infuriated Athens.

Greece expelled the Libyan ambassador last week over the Nov. 27 accord establishing a sea corridor between Libya and Turkey and in areas where Greece considers it has maritime rights.

"We are here to stress that this specific agreement is rejected, it is invalid," said Aguila Saleh in Athens.

"Those that signed it do not have any legal authority to do so, since the government itself was rejected. It did fail a confidence vote twice and has not been legally sworn in at the House of Representatives," Saleh told reporters through an interpreter.

He met with the Greek parliament speaker and with the country's foreign minister, Nikos Dendias.

Speaking after the meeting, Dendias thanked Saleh and welcomed the Libyan parliament's position “according to which the memoranda which have been signed ... are void and without content, are unenforceable and create instability in the region.”

“They threaten peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Dendias said, adding that Greece was prepared to help in efforts to restore peace in Libya.

On Tuesday Athens said it had lodged objections with the United Nations, saying the accord violated international law.

European Union leaders are set to reject the maritime border agreement as invalid and insist that the pact interferes with the rights of other Mediterranean Sea countries, according to a draft summit statement.

In the statement, the leaders say the agreement “infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third states.”

The text, seen Thursday by The Associated Press and drawn up for a two-day EU summit underway in Brussels, was a draft so its exact wording could change.

The draft document continues that the EU “unequivocally reaffirms its solidarity with Greece and Cyprus regarding these actions by Turkey.”

Arriving for the summit in Brussels, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would seek help from his European counterparts, “and I am sure I will receive, their active support in the face of Turkish provocation.”

Mitsotakis said the deal between the GNA and Turkey "grossly violates the sovereign rights of (our) country and has no legal effect. Europe is raising diplomatic walls against Turkish provocations, and in all this process our country is not alone. It has very powerful allies.”

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