‘Greece continues to interpret law of sea, general international law selectively,’ say UN representatives of Türkiye, Libya
In a letter to the UN on Tuesday, Türkiye and Libya blasted Greek criticisms of their agreements on the delimitation of hydrocarbon and maritime jurisdiction areas, and urged Greece to end its baseless accusations, hostile rhetoric, and escalatory actions and instead respect the sovereign decisions of the two countries.
“The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on 3 Oct. 2022 between the Governments of National Unity of Libya and the Republic of Türkiye on Cooperation in the Field of Hydrocarbons is a legal instrument based on the principle of sovereign equality. The MOU envisages the development of bilateral cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons, both on land and at sea in the Eastern Mediterranean and therefore is in full observance of the principles of international law concerning friendly relations and cooperation among states,” Feridun Sinirlioglu, Türkiye’s permanent representative to the UN, and Libya’s Permanent Representative to the UN Taher El-Sonni said in a joint letter in English.
The letter noted that, contrary to Greece’s allegations, the Libyan Government of National Unity has the capacity to enter and terminate international accords, and that its laws authorize the government to negotiate agreements with other states.
Contrary to Greece’s claims, the letter highlighted that there is no legal basis for claims that the hydrocarbons agreement signed by Libya and Türkiye contradicts the political process under UN supervision, as the roadmap that will lead to a political solution in Libya gives the government full authority in the election preparation process.
“Greece fails to mention, or deliberately ignores, that many states, including EU member states, have concluded tens of other similar memoranda of understanding with the Government of National Unity of Libya in areas that require long-term commitments by the signatories, ranging from energy to infrastructure and economic activities,” the letter said.
The letter stated that the agreement between Türkiye and Libya on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas, signed on Nov. 27, 2019, was recorded in line with Article 102 of the UN Convention and that a fair solution based on international law was reached, and rejected Greece’s claims that the agreement violates its sovereign rights.
“Greece’s objections to the said MOU on the ground that it allegedly violates Greek sovereign rights are unacceptable to Libya and Türkiye. So is the purported maritime boundary delimitation agreement signed between Egypt and Greece. We regard them (as) null and void; they are in no way opposable to us. In accordance with international law, Greece is not entitled to sovereign rights in the maritime areas delimited between Libya and Türkiye,” it said.
It asserted that with its claims, Greece disregards Türkiye’s and Libya’s sovereignty rights. “Greece continues to interpret the law of the sea and general international law selectively. It ignores the principle of equity in maritime boundary delimitation,” the letter said.
The letter also said Greece poses illegally as an archipelagic state, claiming that all islands, islets, and rocks should be given full weight in maritime boundary delimitation regardless of their location, size, or ability to sustain human habitation or economic life on their own.
The agreements signed between Turkey and Libya on the delimitation of hydrocarbon and maritime jurisdictions violate neither international law nor Greece’s sovereign rights, said the letter, adding that Greece is attempting to discredit Libya and Turkey’s efforts to promote dialogue in the Mediterranean at the UN.
Türkiye and Libya urged Greece to stop its unfounded charges, hostile rhetoric, and measures that aggravate tensions, and to respect the two neighboring nations’ sovereign decisions.