Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias called Monday (12 April) for the pullout of foreign forces from Libya, during a visit to the eastern city of Benghazi.
European Union members have been quick to boost ties with Libya since a new government took office last month seeking to end decades of chaos in the country.
Oil-rich Libya has been torn by conflict since the toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 NATO-backed revolt, with rival forces backed by foreign players vying for power.
Interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, tasked with steering Libya to elections in December, has demanded the departure of an estimated 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters from his country.
In January, the United States called on Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to immediately halt their military interventions. A United Nations January deadline for the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries passed without any sign of them pulling out.
“Supporting Libyan sovereignty and the departure of all foreign forces from Libya as soon as possible” hold the key to resolving Libya’s conflict, Dendias said in a joint statement with Libya’s deputy premier, Hussein Attiya al-Gotrani.
“The Libyan people must be allowed to decide their destiny by themselves,” Dendias added.
He said Greece would reopen its consulate Monday in Benghazi, Libya’s second city and the cradle of the 2011 revolt.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Tripoli last week to reopen his country’s embassy, closed since 2014.
France and Malta have also reopened their Tripoli embassies and a growing number of European officials have been visiting Libya.
During Libya’s conflict, Athens backed eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar, after a UN-recognised Government of National Accord signed a controversial maritime agreement with Turkey in 2019.
Athens is fiercely opposed to the deal with Ankara, which claims much of the Mediterranean for energy exploration, conflicting with rival claims by Greece and Cyprus.