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Four countries declare Turkish-Libyan maritime border agreement "null and void"




Four countries declare Turkish-Libyan maritime border agreement "null and void Turkey has started drilling off Cyprus (map: International crisis group)
Four countries declare Turkish-Libyan maritime border agreement "null and void Turkey has started drilling off Cyprus (map: International crisis group)
MEDITERRANEAN. At the end of a meeting in Cairo of their foreign ministers on Wednesday 8 January 2020, Egypt, France, Greece and Cyprus issued a statement saying that the Turkish-Libyan agreements had "further undermined regional stability and are both considered null and void". The Italian Foreign Minister was not among the signatories of the communiqué.

Initialled on 27 November 2019, these two texts - one on military cooperation between Turkey and Libya and one on the delimitation of maritime borders - symbolise the rapprochement between Ankara and the Libyan government of national unity (GNA) of Fayez al-Sarraj. Regarding the first agreement, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already honoured it by sending his army to Libya to help the GNA in its fight against the rival Libyan National Army of Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

On the second, the maritime delimitation it imposes allows Turkey to assert its rights over vast areas in the eastern Mediterranean coveted by Egypt, Greece and Cyprus for their potential gas resources. This route, which is carried out without regard for the claims of other countries in the area, completely ignores, for example, the Greek island of Crete. The foreign ministers insist that the agreement "infringes on the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the law of the sea and cannot have any legal consequences".

Ankara has started drilling off Cyprus and the European Council had already expressed its concern in July 2019 and October 2019, sanctioning this act with a reduction in financial aid to Turkey. The foreign ministers meeting in Cairo reaffirmed their condemnation of the drilling and called on Turkey to "immediately cease all illegal exploration activities".
 

Frédéric Dubessy


Thursday, January 9th 2020



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