EU: “Turkish-Libyan Memorandum Has No Legal Effect”

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European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell
European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell said the MoU signed by Turkey and Libya in 2019 “violates the sovereign rights of third countries.”

“The MoU is not in accord with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and cannot generate legal consequences for third countries,” Borrell said in reply to New Democracy MEP, Manolis Kefaloyiannis, according to the National Herald.

The Greek politician submitted a question to Borrell after the signature on 3 October of an agreement in Libya’s Exclusive Economic Zone, as part of the Turkish-Libyan memorandum. The MoU allows Turkish companies to carry out exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas.

Kefaloyiannis asked for measures to be taken against this agreement, which violates the sovereign rights of EU member-state Greece.

Regarding the recent agreement to drill for hydrocarbons, Borrell urged Turkey to avoid actions that undermine regional stability.

He affirmed that it was “essential that all states comply with the international law of the sea, the principle of good neighbor relations, the sovereignty and sovereign rights over maritime zones of all coastal states, including the rights arising from their islands.”

He added that all members of the international community must conform with these principles.

Tensions rose between Libya’s Tripoli-based government and Greece after Libya and Turkey signed a series of economic agreements that included potential energy exploration in maritime areas. The agreements will allow for oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters, and come three years after the two countries signed a maritime border deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said after signing the MoU in Tripoli.

During a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry in October, Dendias accused Turkey of exploiting “the turbulent situation in Libya to further destabilize security in the Mediterranean region, and establish a regional hegemony.”

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