Greece Urges Haftar to Take Constructive Stance at Berlin Conference

  • “l must tell you with great pleasure that the commander agreed to all of those remarks,” Dendias said.
  • Dendias argued that Greece should have participated in the Berlin Conference on Libya.
  • Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis had warned that Athens would use its veto power as a member of the European Union in an effort to block an agreement on Libya.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said today that, after his meeting with the leader of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, Athens expects European countries to reject the two memoranda that Turkey signed with the Libyan Government of National Accord led by Fayez Al-Sarraj. Dendias added that Athens encouraged Haftar to “constructively act” at the Berlin conference on Sunday, which aims to try to end the fighting in Libya.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is a dual Libyan-American citizen who is a military officer and the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), which, under Haftar’s leadership, replaced nine elected municipal councils by military administrators, and as of May 2019, was engaged in the Second Libyan Civil War.

Dendias stressed that the Greek government encouraged Haftar to “work towards achieving a ceasefire and restore security in Libya by getting rid of mercenaries and acknowledging the invalidity of the illegal agreements between Turkey and the government,” in reference to the reconciliation government. He added, “l must tell you with great pleasure that the commander agreed to all of those remarks,” Dendias said.

Dendias also said that Greece is ready to help oversee the implementation of a European arms embargo on Libya. Dendias argued that Greece should have participated in the Berlin Conference on Libya. Haftar began a visit to Greece on Thursday evening that was not previously announced. Turkey, which has promised to send troops to support the reconciliation government, is at odds with Greece over oil and gas exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Haftar later met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well as several other senior officials.

Cautious German optimism

Nikos Dendias is a Greek lawyer and politician of the conservative New Democracy party. As of 2019, he is the current Foreign Minister of Greece.

Haftar’s visit comes before the Berlin summit, which aims to stop the conflict in Libya. In this context, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, after returning from Benghazi where he met with Haftar, said that the Berlin conference could succeed. “Countries must demonstrate their seriousness in supporting the Berlin track,” he added in an interview with the news reporters. Maas stressed that Haftar told him that he wants to contribute to the success” of the Berlin conference, and he also assured him of his intention to abide by the ceasefire.

Athens threatens to block any decision on Libya

Late Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, who was not invited to the Berlin summit, had warned that Athens would use its veto power as a member of the European Union in an effort to block an agreement on Libya unless the Turkish maritime agreement was canceled. Turkey signed a controversial maritime border agreement for the eastern Mediterranean with Saraj last November, which contrasts with other previous agreements including Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, and Israel. The two sides also signed a military agreement.

It was not immediately clear what Greece could veto, as the Berlin summit is not sponsored by the European Union, and any Libyan agreement does not need EU approval. “Greece has sought to participate in the Berlin meeting on Libya, the Greek government considers that the participation of Turkey will not be beneficial, given that Turkey is a party to the military conflict, as it deploys forces in Libya,” said George Bagolatos, head of the Greek Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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