State Dept: Turkey-Libya agreement ‘unhelpful and provocative’

The memorandum of understanding signed by Turkey and Libya on maritime zones in the East Mediterranean is “unhelpful and provocative,” the US State Department said on Tuesday.

Responding to a question by Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), the State Department said, “While the United States generally does not take a position on other states’ maritime boundary disputes, we call on all parties to refrain from all actions that risk heightening tensions in the eastern Mediterranean at this sensitive time.”

Such actions, it said, highlighted the risk of the Libyan conflict taking on wider regional dimensions, and urged all interested parties to work toward a negotiated solution.

“In particular, the announcement of a signed Turkish-GNA delimitation memorandum of understanding has raised tensions in the region and is unhelpful and provocative,” the State Department noted, referring to Libya’s Government of National Accord.

US Ambassador in Greece

Earlier on Tuesday, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt had been asked to comment on the agreement, on the sidelines of a Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce 30th Annual Greek Economic Summit.

At the time, he said, “I would note that on the question of this purported MOU with Turkey and Libya, we have not seen the text yet, but we certainly see such a move as detracting from the situation of stability that the United States has sought to encourage, and we hope that as quickly as possible, the focus can return to building areas of cooperation based on international law, a point that Secretary of State Pompeo made very clear in his remarks with the Foreign Minister, with the Prime Minister, when he was here in Athens.”

He also underlined that “the United States and Greece share a strong interest in seeing that Turkey remains anchored in the West, anchored in NATO, anchored in our Euro-Atlantic community.” The ambassador also expressed his country’s “appreciation for the steps that Prime Minister Mitsotakis and his government have taken, literally from their first days in office, to help ensure that the channels of communication between Athens and Ankara are open and to make clear that Greece is not seeking escalation, is not seeking provocationUS State Dept: Turkey-Libya maritime zones agreement ‘unhelpful and provocative’