Greek Foreign Minister Defends Decision to Meet Libyan General Haftar

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias (L) and Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar (R), the chief of the Libyan National Army. Credit: AMNA

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias defended his decision on Monday to make a surprise visit to Benghazi to meet the East Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar, despite a condemnation by Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

The official visit violated the decisions of international institutions which consider the GNA the country’s only legitimate government, said Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala in a statement released on the ministry’s social media account.

Dendias defended his decision to meet with Haftar, who he said “clearly, from his statements, supports and supported the Greek positions” regarding the recent Libya-Turkey agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean.

“Following the stance of the government of Tripoli, I believe it is obvious that the Greek side should have a clear picture over the rest of the institutional composition which comprises today the puzzle in Libya; and I refer to the Parliament and to the chief of the Libyan National Army, General Khalifa Haftar” Dendias said.

“The head of the Libyan Army believes, as we do, that these agreements (between Turkey and Libya) are invalid and non-existent,” he noted, adding that “this is not only in Greece’s interest but also in the interest of Libya, of the Libyan people and of the safety and stability in the region’s interest.”

On the current political situation in Libya, Dendias emphasized that “Greece supports with all its powers and its diplomatic capital, the peace process.”

Referring to the deal between Turkey and Libya, the chief of Greek diplomacy clarified the nation’s official position further, saying Greece “does not say that there is an agreement that should be cancelled but that there is no valid agreement.

“This agreement is legally non-existent in the context of the law of Libya and in the framework of the law of the Treaties,” he noted.

“I believe that Turkey will not proceed with actions so provocative that they will totally isolate it. In any case, Greece will do whatever necessary to defend its sovereignty and its sovereign rights,” Dendias declared, and reiterated “We can do it alone, but we are not alone.”