ATHENS – Libya’s Haftar in Greece to meet Mitsotakis

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis has strongly criticised Germany’s decision not to invite Greece at a German-hosted summit on Sunday (19 January) on the Libyan crisis. He said that he had already spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about it and would do so again today.

Mitsotakis warned that if the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Turkey and Libya on maritime zones is not revoked, Greece will reject any solution proposed to solve the crisis in Libya and will veto relevant decisions in the EU Council and the Council of Foreign Affairs.

Before heading to Germany, General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army, is in Athens today (17 January) to meet the Greek PM as well as Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias.

Greek media reported that the landing of Haftar’s aircraft took place in extreme secrecy for security reasons. Last night, he held a private meeting with Dendias at a hotel in Athens and today in the morning he will see Mitsotakis.

“We had a long conversation with General Haftar on all matters: The situation in Libya, the conference in Berlin and the next day in Libya and the wider area. We want a ceasefire, removal of mercenaries and cancellation of illegal memoranda,” Dendias said.

Dendias added that Greece was ready to help the next day in Libya “with forces” to help monitor the ceasefire and the arms embargo. “All of this is a contribution to the future of the Libyan people. We want it to be a modern democratic country”.

Earlier this week, Haftar opposed Berlin’s decision not to invite Greece. Haftar has rejected as illegal the MoU signed between Turkey and the Tripoli-based and UN-backed Government of National Accord of Faiez el-Serraj.

Berlin has said it cannot reveal in public why Greece was not invited at the conference, whose main focus will be to find an end to the Libyan conflict through an arms embargo and a ceasefire.

The European Commission, which will attend the conference, has admitted that Berlin sets the agenda.

In the meantime, following a question of EURACTIV France’s Aline Robert, Paris reiterated yesterday its opposition to the MoU. Athens seems to heavily rely on Paris over the issue, considering that President Emmanuel Macron is the only EU leader that has publicly backed Greece both at NATO and EU level.

[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com]

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