Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Türkiye, Libya’s GNU Agree Preliminary Maritime Energy Deal amid Objections

Türkiye, Libya’s GNU Agree Preliminary Maritime Energy Deal amid Objections

Monday, 3 October, 2022 - 16:45
Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush (R) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attend a press conference in the capital Tripoli on October 3, 2022. (AFP)

Libya's Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) signed a series of preliminary economic agreements with Türkiye on Monday that included potential energy exploration in maritime areas, but Libya's eastern-based parliament rejected the move.

Speaking at a ceremony in Tripoli, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said they had signed memorandums of understanding aimed at benefiting both countries.

It was not immediately clear whether any concrete deals to emerge would include exploration in the "exclusive economic zone" which Türkiye and the GNU’s predecessor, the Government of National Accord, agreed in 2019, angering other eastern Mediterranean states.

That zone envisaged the two countries sharing a maritime border but was attacked by Greece and Cyprus and criticized by Egypt and Israel.

"It does not matter what they think," said Cavusoglu when asked if other countries might object to the new memorandum of understanding.

"Third countries do not have the right to interfere," he added.

Türkiye has been a significant supporter of the GNU under Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, whose legitimacy is disputed by the Libyan parliament, which backs an alternative administration.

Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh said the memorandum of understanding was illegal because it was signed by a government that had no mandate.

The political stalemate over control of government has thwarted efforts to hold national elections in Libya and threatens to plunge the country back into conflict.

Editor Picks