France Rejects Turkish-Libyan Energy Deal

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On Saturday, the France’s Foreign Ministry reiterated that the recent Turkish-Libyan energy exploration agreement, “is not in accordance with international law of the sea.”

“Our position on the memorandum of understanding signed between Turkey and the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) in 2019, remains unchanged. This infringes the sovereign rights of Member States of the European Union, does not comply with the international law of the sea, and cannot have legal consequences for third states,” France’s ministry spokesperson told a daily briefing.

“The European Council spoke clearly on this subject in December 2019,” they added.

On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron urged his Turkish counterpart to respect international law.

In a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Prague, on the sidelines of the first session of the European Political Community, France’s President expressed his “concern” about the situation in the eastern Mediterranean. He called for the “resumption of dialogue between all sides, in order to avoid escalation and preserve respect for international law.”

On Tuesday, the EU Spokesman, Peter Stano said the deal could “potentially undermine regional stability.”

He stressed that the hydrocarbons deal requires further clarifications, given that it’s based on a memorandum that “goes against Law of the Sea and infringes on third states’ rights.” Stano affirmed that “actions that could undermine regional stability should be avoided.”

On Monday, Libya and Turkey signed several economic agreements that included potential energy exploration in maritime areas, Mevlut Cavusoğlu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister said.

The agreements will allow for oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters. This comes three years after the two countries signed a maritime border deal.

Moreover, the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was following the developments in Libya “very closely.”

The statement added that Greece “holds sovereign rights in the area, which it intends to defend by all legal means, in full respect to the International Law of the Sea.”

In turn, the Libyan Parliament rejected the deal, saying that the GNU’s “mandate has ended and it has no longer a legal authorization to broker any international deals.”

The Parliament added that the “signing of the agreement with Turkey is illegal, and not binding for the Libyan state, as it was signed by a non-eligible party.”

It also rejected “such individual actions by the outgoing government, which seeks to stay in power at the expense of the capabilities of the Libyan people.”