Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

11/17/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/17/2022 13:58

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ statement to journalists during his visit to Eastern Libya (Benghazi, 17.11.2022)

Today's visit to Libya, as scheduled, started from Tripoli, where I was to meet with President Menfi. However, Ms. Mangoush, the Foreign Minister of the Libyan Transitional Government (GNU), tried to force her presence at the airport so that I would have to meet with her. As a result, I cut short my visit to Tripoli and departed for Benghazi, where the schedule was followed, as planned.

First of all, there was a ceremony held for the delivery of 30,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which were added to the 200,000 doses we have already provided Libya with. Aside from that, I met with Field Marshal Haftar, who reiterated his well-known positions on the Turkish-Libyan "memorandum" and on Turkey's presence in Libya. I then met with members of parliament and members of the House of Representatives to whom I had the opportunity to outline the Greek positions. In fact, experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefed them on the specifics of International Law and the International Law of the Sea.

I also had the opportunity to attend a ceremony at the port of Benghazi where Greece is providing assistance for the port's reopening. The port of Benghazi is of particular importance. It serves as a gateway for transporting goods to Benghazi itself, but also to transport humanitarian aid to the Sahel region countries. We have, therefore, provided assistance in two phases so as to enable the port to become operational again.

From here, I'll fly to Tobruk where I will meet again with Aguila Saleh, the Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives so that we can have a shared understanding on the issues related to Turkish presence in Libya and the Turkish-Libyan "memoranda".

JOURNALIST: Minister, following today's incident, what is the next day for Greece's relations with Libya? All the more so, when Athens has stated that it would like to start talks on the issue of the delimitation of maritime zones.

N. DENDIAS: What you're saying is right, but with whom should we have talks? With the government that will emerge from the elections, so that it represents the true will of the Libyan people. Greece will begin talks with this government, and I believe we will reach an agreement relatively quickly because the issue is relatively "easy" and "clear". Aside from that, the Libyan Transitional Government has a sole obligation: to fully cooperate so as to lead the country to elections as soon as possible. What is distressing though is that I see it not doing so.