A Libyan court has halted a deal for offshore oil and gas exploration between Libya and Turkey that was signed last year, a deal that has sparked outrage from neighboring countries Egypt and Greece.
The deal concerns waters that both Libya and Turkey have claimed as their own, but are disputed by Egypt and Greece. The Libyan government has the option to appeal the ruling. Greece’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Maria Theofili, has described the deal as a violation of Greece’s sovereign rights and international law, and as an action that undermines stability in the region.
The deal, signed in October 2020, followed a security agreement that was signed in 2019, demarcating the maritime border between Libya and Turkey, which had previously angered Egypt and Greece.
The region has gained attention due to large gas discoveries off the coast of Israel, as well as discoveries in Turkish and Cypriot waters. Europe is now looking for new sources of gas. Meanwhile, the events surrounding the deal with Turkey have contributed to the deterioration of the internal political situation in Libya, as Ankara signed its deals with the Government of National Unity, which is recognized by the UN, but not by rival political factions within Libya.