Libya-Turkey Letter to UN: Greece has no sovereign rights in joint maritime zone

In a letter to the UN on Tuesday, Libya and Turkey decried Greek criticisms of their agreements on the delimitation of hydrocarbon and maritime jurisdiction areas, and urged Greece to end its baseless accusations, hostile rhetoric, and escalatory actions and instead respect the sovereign decisions of the two countries.

“The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on 3 Oct. 2022 between the Governments of National Unity of Libya and the Republic of Türkiye on Cooperation in the Field of Hydrocarbons is a legal instrument based on the principle of sovereign equality. The MOU envisages the development of bilateral cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons, both on land and at sea in the Eastern Mediterranean and therefore is in full observance of the principles of international law concerning friendly relations and cooperation among states.” Libya’s Permanent Representative to the UN Taher El-Sonni and his Turkish counterpart Feridun Sinirlioglu said in a joint letter.

The letter said that, contrary to Greece’s allegations, the Libyan Government of National Unity has the capacity to enter and terminate international accords, and that its laws authorize the government to negotiate agreements with other states. It also said that contrary to Greece’s claims, there is no legal basis for claims that the hydrocarbons agreement signed by Libya and Turkey contradicts the political process under UN supervision, as the roadmap that will lead to a political solution in Libya gives the government full authority in the election preparation process.

It stated that the agreement between Turkey and Libya on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas, signed on Nov. 27, 2019, was recorded in line with Article 102 of the UN Convention and that a fair solution based on international law was reached, and rejected Greece’s claims that the agreement violates its sovereign rights.

The letter said Greece’s objections to the said MOU on the ground that it allegedly violates Greek sovereign rights are unacceptable to Libya and Turkey.

“So is the purported maritime boundary delimitation agreement signed between Egypt and Greece. We regard them (as) null and void; they are in no way opposable to us. In accordance with international law, Greece is not entitled to sovereign rights in the maritime areas delimited between Libya and Turkey.” It said.

It also indicated that Greece continues to interpret the law of the sea and general international law selectively, saying it ignores the principle of equity in maritime boundary delimitation. The letter also said Greece poses illegally as an archipelagic state, claiming that all islands, islets, and rocks should be given full weight in maritime boundary delimitation regardless of their location, size, or ability to sustain human habitation or economic life on their own.

“The agreements signed between Turkey and Libya on the delimitation of hydrocarbon and maritime jurisdictions violate neither international law nor Greece’s sovereign rights, said the letter, adding that Greece is attempting to discredit Libya and Turkey’s efforts to promote dialogue in the Mediterranean at the UN. Turkey and Libya urged Greece to stop its unfounded charges, hostile rhetoric, and measures that aggravate tensions, and to respect the two neighboring nations’ sovereign decisions.” The letter further explained.


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