Greece, Libya to discuss delimitation of maritime zones: PM

Greece and Libya’s new leadership agreed to discuss the delimitation of their maritime zones, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday during a meeting with the visiting President of the Libyan Presidency Council Mohammad Menfi.

“Greece will stand by you and the Libyan people, in your difficult task of rebuilding your homeland,” the Greek prime minister said, welcoming the Libyan leader in Athens in a statement broadcast on Greek national broadcaster ERT.

“I welcome the intention of you and the Prime Minister of Libya for talks between your country and Greece over critical issues, such as the delimitation of maritime zones,” Mitsotakis said.

“Greece has extended a helping hand to Libya and this has been clear so far and my visit today is a reflection, an expression of our desire to have cooperation with Greece in all areas and in all fields,” Menfi said.

Libya has suffered from a civil war since the killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Since 2014 power has been split between two rival governments: the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in capital Tripoli and another in the city of Tobruk allied with eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.

On Feb. 5, 2021, members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum elected a new Prime Minister and a new Presidency Council in Geneva to lead the country to elections at the end of 2021.

The signing of an agreement on maritime borders between Turkey and the previous government of Tripoli in 2019 soured relations between Greece and Libya.

Athens and Ankara have been at odds for long over maritime boundaries and oil and gas drilling rights in the Mediterranean Sea.

A new era in cooperation between Greece and Libya has opened after the election of the new leadership, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said during separate talks with Menfi shortly later.

Last week Mitsotakis visited Libya for the reopening of the Greek embassy in Tripoli and earlier this week Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias was in Benghazi for the reopening of the Greek consulate in the city, she noted.

“We want to exchange views and have joint committees working on all issues so that our relations can return to normal as in the past, and improve even further,” Menfi said, according to an e-mailed press release issued by the Greek leader’s office.

He added that Libya wants to strengthen ties with Greece in economy, trade and culture among others.