On Friday, the Foreign Ministry of the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) announced its rejection of Egypt’s decision to unilaterally demarcate the maritime borders with Libya.
It said in a statement that Egypt’s decision was “unfair, and violates the principles of good faith. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs alerts that this dispute may be referred to peaceful means of settlement under Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, including the International Court of Justice.”
The Ministry stressed that any demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries “must take place through an agreement that guarantees the interests of both parties, and respects the principle of equality.” Additionally, it urged the Egyptian government to consider “launching talks on maritime borders with the GNU.”
On Tuesday, Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree demarcating the country’s western maritime borders with Libya.
“The borders of Egypt’s territorial waters begin from the Egyptian-Libyan land border point No. 1 for a distance of 12 nautical miles, reaching point No. 8, and thus Egypt’s western maritime borderline launches from point No. 8 in the direction of the north,” the decree said, which was published in the official gazette.
The Parliament-designate Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha also denounced Egypt’s step. He called on the governments of “neighboring and friendly” countries of Egypt, Turkey, and Greece not to take any unilateral steps regarding defining and demarcating maritime borders. He stressed that the demarcation of the maritime borders at this time “would increase tensions, and exacerbate the situation in the Mediterranean region.”
Bashagha affirmed that the Libyan government is “ready to negotiate with those countries over demarcating the maritime borders, in a way that serves the common and just interests of all. We seek to hold negotiations in a way that guarantees the preservation of the rights of all countries, based on the principle of mutual recognition of borders. This will be done according to international laws.”
Libya has two opposing governments, in the east, in which it is headed by Bashagha, and the GNU in the west, headed by Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba.