US State Department: Libyan Government “Not Authorized’ to Make New Deals

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On Tuesday, the Spokesman for the United States Department of State, Ned Price said that the “interim Government of National Unity (GNU) of Libya, headed by Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba is compelled by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) to not sign new agreements that would upset the country’s foreign relations, or that would result in long-term obligations.”

“We are aware of reports on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Turkish government and the provisional government of Libya, we have not yet seen the document,” Price said.

“We call on all parties to refrain from actions that risk increasing tension in the eastern Mediterranean”.

The Tripoli-based government signed a series of preliminary economic agreements with Turkey on Monday. These included potential energy exploration in maritime areas, a move that angered the the Libyan Parliament, and Turkey’s regional rival Greece, who denounced them as “illegal.”

The controversial deals, signal a renewed alignment by Dbaiba with Ankara, amid repeated international calls for elections to resolve the country’s political divide.

The MoU’s are said to pave the way for further bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon and oil sectors. A gas deal is also expected, according to Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu during a news conference that followed the signings.

Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry discussed the legitimacy of the recently signed Turkish-Libyan memorandum of understanding.

The two sides confirmed that the “Government of National Unity’s (GNU) mandate has ended, and it does not have the authority to conclude any international agreements,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Dendias posted on Twitter about his phone call with Shoukry, saying both sides challenged the “legitimacy of the Libyan GNU to sign the said MoU,” and that he will visit Cairo for consultations on Sunday.

Practically, the new agreement will open up more areas for Turkey to explore for hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean. Especially in areas that Greece and Cyprus stress as belonging to them.

Turkey has gained great weight with the ruling forces in western Libya since its military support for the previous Government of National Accord (GNA) in 2019.