Greece Refutes Libya’s “False Claims” over Research Vessel

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On Tuesday, Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered a note verbale to the Libyan Embassy in Athens, refuting claims of ‘illegal’ actions by seismic research vessel ‘Sanco Swift’, according to Greece’s Ekathimerini newspaper.

In a statement, the ministry said the maritime research, south of the Peloponnese and southwest of Crete, “is carried out in regions of Greek jurisdiction, according to the rules of the international law of the sea. The coordinates of the regions where research is taking place are accessible to all interested parties, through relevant Navtex announcements.”

The MoFA affirmed that Greece “welcomes the reference by the Libyan side to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”

It reminded the Libyan side that “the two illegal and unfounded memorandums of understanding it signed with Turkey in November 2019, and October 2022 are blatantly violating key regulations of UNCLOS, that also reflect rules of customary international law.”

In addition, it underlined that “these illegal memorandums ignore and violate Greece’s sovereign rights over its continental shelf. As well as its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Exclusive Economic Zone.”

The ministry also reiterated its “desire for the resumption of bilateral collaboration, in a spirit of mutual trust, in the context of the historic ties of friendship between the two countries and their peoples.”

Notably, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara, along with the Tripoli-based government in Libya, were together protesting against seismic surveys and drilling that Greece is due to carry out, south of Crete.

In his speech at the Turkish Parliament’s budget debate, in December 2022, Cavusoglu criticized Greece’s objections to the Turkish-Libyan memorandum on hydrocarbons, signed in October.

On Monday, a Libyan court suspended the MoU with Turkey.

Diplomatic sources also underlined that by its note verbale, “Greece expresses once again its readiness to continue negotiations with the Libyan government that will emerge after national elections, over the delimitation of maritime zones, based on UNCLOS.”