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HomeGreeceMinister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ interview with “Ta Nea Savvatokyriako” newspaper...

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ interview with “Ta Nea Savvatokyriako” newspaper and journalist Alexandra Fotaki (19.11.2022)

JOURNALIST: Do you think that we can be optimistic about elections being held in Libya in the near future?JOURNALIST: Why did you eventually choose Tripoli as your first stop?JOURNALIST: …who do not wish to have contacts with the Dbeibeh government?JOURNALIST: What did the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Agila Saleh, and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar say to you today?The second point is that these governments are not obliged to deal with our reality, which is the second Turkish-Libyan “memorandum”. Let’s face it, the United Nations’ position that this government is not authorised to sign agreements was taken thanks to our efforts; we worked very hard within the UN to achieve that.N. DENDIAS: No. I think that the possibility of holding elections has been significantly pushed back, so we have to figure out what we are going to do.N. DENDIAS: On our part, relations with Libya will remain unchanged. In the sense that we will try – and that was the aim of our visit – to maintain a strong relationship with Eastern Libya and thus with the Parliament; in fact, with a body that strengthens our position against accepting and concluding illegal documents with Turkey.  On the other hand, with our limited capabilities – because I wouldd like to remind you that our capabilities are limited compared to others, given that we wish to exert influence without money or an army – to prevent the expansion of contractual understandings with Turkey.JOURNALIST: Therefore, your decision to leave Tripoli immediately in this way, was a matter not only of symbolism but also of substance?N. DENDIAS: Of course, they communicate with the Libyan government. However, the point is that it has a limited mandate, as it is generally acknowledged; this means that it cannot sign agreements and, I dare say, it has limited utility.JOURNALIST: Do other foreign governments talk to the Libyan government? For example, France…N. DENDIAS: Menfi has asked us to go to Tripoli. As a gesture to him, we agreed, on the condition that no formal contacts or contacts with the transitional government would take place.  We would go there, see him, and then leave. The fact that Mangoush appeared [at the airport] means that the agreement was not respected.JOURNALIST: How will our relations with Libya be like from now on?N. DENDIAS: Unquestionably it is both. It is impossible to pretend to be blind. Moreover, there is an understanding with the Egyptians.N. DENDIAS: Saleh and Haftar were absolutely in line with what we would like them to be. They stressed that the Turkish presence in Libya is harmful and unacceptable. It was important to meet Saleh and Haftar, because they had visited Turkey. Erdogan personally met with them, he met with the Libyan MPs, and that is why I also went to Parliament and explained our positions to them.N. DENDIAS:  They do not want substantial contacts. No, they do not. They argue that this government should hold elections. And not only does it not hold elections, it usurps its stay in power by exploiting Libya’s resources, as it pleases, and it also signs Agreements with Turkey. Well, this is not acceptable.

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