March 23, 2023

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Death cast – Libyan politics seek

The crash test of the arrangements and the next steps of the Tripoli-Turkey government is yesterday’s expansion with the new NAVTEX of ExxonMobil’s research area in the plot “southwest of Crete”, while recent developments make it necessary to take corrective initiatives in Athens-Tripoli relations.

NAVTEX issued yesterday by Athens at the request of the consortium that seized the plot of land “southwest of Crete” relating to areas south of the zone committed on November 7, but according to information north of the middle line that Greece unilaterally designated as the outer boundary of its exclusive economic zone (based on On Maniatis Law and in the absence of an agreement with Libya).

In 2019, before the signing of the Turkish-Libyan memorandum, Libya responded to the licensing of the plots of land located south of Crete, arguing that they lie within the Libyan continental shelf, which it certainly calculates (without revealing the coordinates unilaterally). to the United Nations) by moving the middle line to the north, omitting the influence of Gavdos and other islands, and based on the line closing the Gulf of Sirte.

After the Turkish-Libyan memorandum of 2019, new facts certainly emerged, because if Libya tried (with Turkey’s support) to claim that the Turkish-Libyan method of calculation would concern the entire area south of Crete – and as far as conceivable. The extension to the west of the present illegal line of demarcation between Turkey and Libya – then a significant part of the Greek continental shelf is called Libyan. Libya can claim that today’s investigation areas … overlap with the Libyan continental shelf. For this reason, the continuation of silence or the official reaction of Tripoli is expected with particular interest.

However, informed sources do not rule out that the reaction will finally come through Turkey by accelerating the implementation of the latest memorandum signed by the Dabaiba government and designating areas for investigations by a Turkish research team in those areas specifically. The Greek continental shelf, which Libya will attempt to usurp with the absurd and extremist accounts contained in the Turkolvi memorandum.

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The need to clarify the policy towards Libya

But at the same time, it is necessary to reconsider relations with Libya as they were formed after the episode of November 17.

The Tripoli Airport incident widened the dispute with Tripoli and made it difficult to deal with it, as Dabaiba’s government continues to represent the country legally, and many European countries have direct contacts with it in order to strengthen its position in Libya.

The Libyan Foreign Minister, N. Mangos, on Friday, on the sidelines of the fourth ministerial session of the Euro-Mediterranean Forum, the opportunity to meet with her European counterparts (Spain, Malta), as well as with the High Representative of the Libyan Foreign Minister. European Union, Z. Borel. Indeed, in her meeting with the official of the community, Ms. Mangos expressed, according to the Libyan media, in a clear attack against N. Dendias, “about Libya’s positions rejecting challenges that target its sovereignty or try to undermine its bilateral relations with its neighbors in the Mediterranean.”

Yesterday, the French ambassador asked the Libyan Minister of Finance to establish a mechanism to review and activate the agreements concluded between the two countries and to address the difficulties facing French companies in resuming their operations in Libya.

Athens will not be able to hide its head in the sand for long and pretend that there is no government in Libya. Even in a moment of crisis, he will have to rely on whoever holds the seal of the Libyan state in his hands, which is Mr. Dabaiba at the moment. Any pressure from the European Union or from the United States of America will be exerted against Mr. Dabaiba, and Greece must have a role and presence in this matter. Above all, Greece cannot exclude itself from developments regarding Libya. For example, if Greece were invited to the Berlin Conference, would it refuse to participate so as not to legitimize Ms. Mangos?

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A formula other than the formula for the complete severance of relations with Libya must be sought, and this must be done in a way that maintains pretense and expresses the desire to maintain relations with the Libyan state entity and a strong rejection of the illegal and arbitrary measures it is taking. Caretaker government. It is necessary to send an ambassador or even a chargé d’affaires (even if he is obliged to hand over copies of accreditation to Mrs. Mangos as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

The impression that was artificially created and circulated in Tripoli that Greece is meddling in the country’s internal affairs and supporting the forces of Haftar and Saleh in eastern Libya must be undoed. Even after the normalization of the situation in Libya (which, however, is not visible on the horizon), the forces of western Libya will have a strong role in shaping the country’s politics, and this image of hostility with Greece should not be maintained.

active in the game

With de-escalation initiatives that will not change, but on the contrary will strengthen the Greek position regarding the unacceptable encroachment of the powers of the Dabaiba government, Athens must remain active in the Libyan game, even if the specific government in Tripoli does not. He should also expect a lot.

The absence of any contact does not allow the use of the “European card”, (with the last strong decision of the European Parliament condemning the 2019 memorandum), so that those from the Dabaiba government do not belong to Ankara’s sphere of influence, but also public opinion, to inform us of the cause of the crisis in relations with Greece, And also about the positive role that our country can play in strengthening European support for Libya.

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It is clear that the intransigent position adopted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs moves in the context of the Egyptian position, which does not recognize the Tripoli government (although Cairo maintains a mandate in Tripoli). But Egypt has other interests and a major role in the developments in Libya, and there should be a very strong “argument” on the part of Cairo for Mr. Dendias to adopt a policy of delegitimizing the Dabaiba government. An argument that would go beyond the agreement on search and rescue cooperation and would have a much more substantial and practical character in the event of a possible challenge from Turkey through the Tripoli government.

The government needs to clarify its position on Libya and whether or not it recognizes Dabaiba’s government (with all the restrictions on its legal capacity). And also to formulate alternative scenarios for exactly how to proceed in the coming period if the EU recognizes this government. Even with these limited powers, the United States and the United Nations will remain for several more months …