Turkey, Libya committed to eastern Mediterranean maritime accord

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh pose during a signing ceremony in Ankara, Turkey April 12, 2021. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey and Libya were committed to a 2019 maritime demarcation accord in the eastern Mediterranean, after meeting Libya's Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh in Ankara.

"The maritime accord signed between Turkey and Libya secures national interests and future of both countries...We confirmed our determination on this issue today," Erdogan said in a news conference.

Libya's new unity government was sworn in on March 15 from two warring administrations that had ruled eastern and western regions, completing a smooth transition of power after a decade of violent chaos.

Turkey had backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which was supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.

Greece, which opposes the maritime agreement between Tripoli and Ankara, called for the accord to be cancelled, as it reopened its embassy in Libya after seven years.

Libyan Prime Minister Dbeibeh said agreements between the two countries, including the maritime demarcation agreement, are based on a valid framework.

Separately, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias met Libya's alternative Prime Minister Hussein Atiya Abdul Hafeez Al-Qatrani in Benghazi and noted that Libya's parliament had not ratified the accord, which Greece considers has no legal force.

The set of meetings with the Libyan delegation also included discussions over concrete steps to improve investments, bilateral trade and economic relations Erdogan also said adding that Ankara will send 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Libya as part of a support against the outbreak.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara and Reuters Tripoli Newsroom; Additional reporting by James Mackenzie in Athens; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)

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