Haftar talks in Athens; Mitsotakis-Merkel phone contacts over Libya, a day after Greek side warned of 'veto'

Friday, 17 January 2020 13:13
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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias are set for successive meetings on Friday with Libyan military and political leader Khalifa Haftar, whose forces continue to besiege the weak but internationally recognized Tripoli-based Libyan government.

After the meeting with Dendias at the foreign ministry, the Greek minister said Athens is willing to contribute forces and assets to a possible European force in Libya that will either observe a ceasefire, disarm jihadis or enforce a weapons transport ban.

Haftar arrived the previous evening in Athens for unscheduled talks, ahead of Sunday's international summit in Germany on the war-torn North African country.

Athens has expressed its extreme displeasure over being snubbed for the summit, slightly more than a month after the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) - Haftar's rivals - proceeded to sign an unprecedented MoU with Turkey drawing maritime borders between the two un-abutting countries in the eastern Mediterranean. In bypassing the international law of the sea and other international canons, Ankara and Tripoli "erased" every island in the region.

The level of Athens' annoyance was punctuated by phone contacts on Friday between Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the former reportedly detailing his government's objections.

A day earlier, in fact, Mitsotakis said Greece will veto any deal on Libya at an EU foreign ministers' council and a subsequent summit if the Turkey-Libya MoU is not rescinded.

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