After Libyan Court Suspends Deal.. Turkish FM Says Libyan Government Still Backs It.

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Libyan and Turkish officials during Libyan-Turkish memorandum of understanding, on oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean
Libyan and Turkish officials during Libyan-Turkish memorandum of understanding, on oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean

On Thursday, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said that Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU) told Turkey “not to take a court ruling that suspended an energy exploration deal seriously,” according to Reuters.

On Monday, the Tripoli Court of Appeal ruled to suspend the implementation of the Libyan-Turkish memorandum of understanding, on oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean.

Speaking in a live TV broadcast, Cavusoglu said that Ankara had been in touch with the GNU’s Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba. “This court ruling is not the final verdict. The government still backs the deal, and they told us that they are proceeding with the necessary work and we should not take this court ruling seriously,” Çavuşoğlu said.

The Court left room for the GNU to appeal. “This is a preliminary ruling… The government can take procedures of complaint… on the case. The case is not closed, until a final ruling is issued in the matter,” Mohamed Hamouda, GNU Spokesman, told Reuters on Thursday.

In October, 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, Çavuşoğlu said after signing the MoU in Tripoli.

Greece notified the UN secretary-general that the current Libyan government in Tripoli has no right to proceed with any agreement that binds subsequent, democratically elected governments.

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

The MoU allows Turkish companies to carry out exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas. “The agreement will allow for oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters, and come three years after the two countries signed a maritime border deal,” Çavuşoğlu noted.