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Statement of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias following his meeting with Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Atiya Abdul Hafeez Al-Qatrani (Benghazi, 12 April 2021)
Dear Deputy Prime Minister, good day and thank you for your hospitality today [greeting in Arabic].
I am here in Libya just a week after Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ visit to Tripoli, on which I accompanied him. My visit to Benghazi today is a follow-up to that visit and marks our full support for the transitional Libyan government and the election process set to take place in December.
In this context, today I will meet with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, and with the Mayor of Benghazi, Mr. Bujwari.
Greece has always argued that the solution to the Libya problem must come with the immediate withdrawal of all foreign military forces and foreign mercenaries from the territory of Libya. This must happen immediately, and the Libyan people must be responsible for the country’s future.
Moreover, I would like to thank you, Deputy Prime Minister, for your frank statement on the illegal ‘memorandum’ signed by the GNA Administration and Turkey on maritime zones. And I would like to thank you for reminding me of what we already knew: the decision of the House of Representatives not to ratify this illegal ‘memorandum’.
Greece is at Libya’s disposal for us to reach an agreement on our maritime zones. As you very rightly said, we came very close to reaching such an agreement in 2010. Only a very few details remained to be worked out to complete that agreement.
And of course, we are here to activate the whole framework of agreements with Libya and to conclude new agreements, in order to assist in any way we can with the country’s reconstruction.
This is why we immediately put our Embassy in Tripoli into operation, and today we will be opening our Consulate here in Benghazi. Our new Consul, Mr. Rakinas, and our Chargé d'affaires in Tripoli, Mr. Stamatekos, are here with me today.
I would like to conclude – allow me, Deputy Prime Minister, if you will – with a reference to the Greek community of Benghazi and Libya in general. Many members of this community are here and remained here during the years of the crisis, and they are prepared to help with the country’s reconstruction. I will be meeting with them immediately after this. And there is also the presence of Greek enterprises, which have also stayed here and are operating here in Libya and in Benghazi, and they are also prepared, with their knowledge of the region, to assist with the reconstruction of the friendly country of Libya.
We are at your disposal, Deputy Prime Minister, to help in any way we can. Thank you very much for your hospitality.”