An unpleasant situation

by Antonis D. Papagiannidis

The January 19 Conference convened under the Berlin Process for Libya has produced little more than an intricate, Committee-laden roadmap to face the Libya civil war. For Greece, the major issue is the fact that it was kept away of the Berlin Conference hosted by the German Government; it was explained that the major issue of concern to Greece (and Cyprus), i.e. the Turkey-Libya MOU purporting to delimitate their respective Exclusive Economic Zones is a way clearly encroaching on Greek (and Cypriot) rights, was not dealt with in this stage of the Berlin Process. Greek interests were represented in a peculiar way – through the Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, participating to the Conference along (or, rather, opposite) head of Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj, but also through the E.U. institutions that were full participants.

The next steps in Libya are quite uncertain. Greece has made it known that it is willing to join in any (European) force that would be deployed to monitor/enforce the cease-fire; still, given the central role of Turkey in the process and the hesitant stance of the EU, this form of balance restoration looks not-so-probable.

Meanwhile Turkish seismic vessel Oruc Reis, along with support ships Ataman and Cengiz, is undertaking (under a NAVTEX issued for the time-frame January 14 – April 20) exploration at an area to which Cyprus had granted concession to a (French) TOTAL- (Italian) ENI consortium. The. temperature in the region gets higher and higher.

The EU Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers, today, will allow some light to be shed on this situation evolving unpleasantly. Not much more can be expected.