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Greece Threatens to Veto Deal that Maintains Turkey-GNA Agreements

Greece Threatens to Veto Deal that Maintains Turkey-GNA Agreements

Saturday, 18 January, 2020 - 07:15
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis meets LNA commander Khalifa Haftar at the parliament in Athens, Greece, January 17, 2020. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar made a surprise visit to Athens on Friday where he met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias ahead of Sunday’s international peace conference on Libya that will be held in Berlin.

Dendias, speaking after meeting with Haftar, said the Greek government had encouraged the Libyan general to “participate (in the Berlin meeting) constructively” and to work toward achieving a ceasefire and restoring security in Libya “by removing mercenaries and by the recognition of the invalidity of the illegal agreements” between Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

"l must tell you with great pleasure that the commander agreed to all of those remarks," Dendias said. The minister said Greece was willing to help police a European ban on arms shipments to Libya.

Turkey, which has sent troops to back the GNA against an LNA offensive against Tripoli, is at odds with Greece over oil-and-gas drilling rights in the East Mediterranean.

In November, Turkey and the GNA signed a controversial maritime deal delineating a boundary between the two countries in the Mediterranean.

The agreement would give Turkey and Libya access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean despite the objections of Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which lie between the two geographically.

Haftar made no comments after his talks with Dendias or a later meeting with Mitsotakis.

The PM, who was not invited to Berlin, said late Thursday that Greece “will never accept a political solution for Libya that does not require the cancellation” of the maritime deal with Turkey.

“We will use our veto before the case gets to the summit meeting. We will veto it at a foreign ministers’ level,” he said.

In Moscow, the Kremlin said Sunday's Berlin talks would focus on a ceasefire and the launch of a broad political dialogue under the United Nations.

Russia and Turkey held talks with the warring sides in Moscow on Monday, focusing on a ceasefire agreement. Haftar and Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the GNA, did not meet directly and held separate talks with Russian and Turkish diplomats and military officials.

But Haftar refused to sign the ceasefire document.

Russia's acting foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Friday the most important outcome of the talks was that the truce was still holding in Libya.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish President Recep Tayyp Erdogan have been confirmed for the Berlin conference.

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