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Greece and Egypt labels Turkish-Libyan Gas deal ‘illegal’

A pact permitting Turkish hydrocarbon drilling in Libya’s Mediterranean waters was deemed “illegal” by Egypt and Greece on Sunday, and Athens vowed to contest it using all “legal measures.”

Turkey announced on Monday that it has reached an agreement with Tripoli’s authorities to explore for hydrocarbons in Libya’s seas.

In Cairo, where he visited his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias declared, “This accord undermines peace and security in the Mediterranean.”

The deal comes after a pact Turkey and Tripoli struck three years ago that defined their mutual maritime limits.

The 2019 deal, according to Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus, infringes their economic rights in a region where there may be significant natural gas deposits.

Dendias continued, “We will protect our rights by any means necessary.”

Tripoli, he claimed, “does not have the essential control over this area,” making the deal “illegal and inadmissible.”

Shoukry asserted that “the administration of Tripoli does not have the legitimacy to sign accords” and that the “mandate of the authorities in Tripoli has expired.”

The agreement has been rejected by a rival Libyan administration in the war-torn nation’s east, which since March has been trying to seize power in Tripoli and also claims the government’s term has expired.

The agreement reached on Monday expands upon one that was previously reached between Ankara and the former government in Tripoli in 2019. At the time, there was a fierce war for control of the capital after eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar tried to take it by force.

An important factor in the defeat of Haftar, who was then supported by Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates, was the quick delivery of Turkish drones to Tripoli-based forces.

This year, as the price of energy increased globally, the urgency of the issue of rights to Libya’s abundant hydrocarbon resources increased.

The 2019 maritime boundary agreement has been condemned by the European Union, and according to France, it “does not comply with international law.”

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