Turkish Foreign Minister Accuses Greece of Sabotaging Libya Talks

Constantine Courcoulas

(Bloomberg) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusolgu slammed Greece for inviting military commander Khalifa Haftar to Athens last week and said it was trying to sabotage efforts for peace in Libya in a bid to impose its own maritime claims on the country.

“We would like to remind our Greek friends that these futile efforts are in vain,” Cavusoglu said in a post on Twitter. “The legitimate government of Libya signed a memorandum of understanding with us to protect their rights.”

His comments come ahead of an international conference in Berlin on Sunday that aims to broker an end to a civil war in Libya. Turkey supports the UN-backed government in Tripoli, which is fighting off an advance by Haftar’s forces. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with Haftar on Friday.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece jumped after Ankara signed a contentious agreement with Tripoli in November that delineates maritime borders -- and affirms claims of sovereignty -- over disputed areas of the energy-rich Mediterranean sea.

Last week, Greece warned it may try to block any Libyan peace deal that doesn’t resolve the dispute. Turkey will issue new exploration licenses in the eastern Mediterranean now that it’s set a maritime border with Libya, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

(Corrects quote in second paragraph of story first published on Jan. 18)

To contact the reporter on this story: Constantine Courcoulas in Athens at ccourcoulas1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, ;Alex Nicholson at anicholson6@bloomberg.net, Shaji Mathew

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