Greece stresses need for Libya's December elections to take place

Foreign minister says Athens has moral duty to help Libya

Greek foreign Minister Nikos Dendias arrive for a meeting to brief political party representatives on developments for the maritime boundary deal between Turkey and Libya in Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Greece has sent two letters to the United Nations explaining its objections to the deal and asking for the matter to be taken up by the U.N. Security Council, the government spokesman said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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Greece’s foreign minister has reiterated the importance of Libya’s presidential and parliamentary elections taking place as billed in December, amid suggestions the vote may be delayed as politicians haggle over the way forward.

Nikos Dendias said they were a basic condition to ensure Libya’s independence and sovereignty.

Speaking alongside his Libyan counterpart Najla Mangoush on Monday, he said that Greece “is not trying, unlike other countries in the region, to turn back time and turn Libya into a de facto colony of foreign interests”.

Mr Dendias said Greece had a “moral duty” to help Libya.

Multiple regional powers have interfered — both militarily and non-militarily - in Libya in recent years to support the country’s various factions.

Mr Dendias also criticised the maritime boundary deal agreed by Libya’s previous government with Greece’s regional rival Turkey, which was faulted by many European and Middle Eastern powers, as well as some members of Libya's parliament.

An interim government was agreed earlier this year, with a permanent administration set to take over after the December elections.

“We hope that a representative government in Libya can emerge to free itself from the burdens of the past, such as the invalid, non-existent and illegal 'Turkish-Libyan Memorandum'. A memorandum that, apart from the international community, is not accepted by the Libyan Parliament either,” Mr Dendias said.

“We say that it is a legal paradox, a legal absurdum that ignores any notion of international law and the law of the sea. It ignores common sense and ignores geography.

“But in order for a fair election to take place, colleague, I think that all foreign troops, all paramilitary, all mercenary forces must be removed from your country. There should be no foreign military presence.”

Updated: September 06, 2021, 5:20 PM