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US: Turkey-Libya MoU “provocative”, islands have EEZ & continental shelf

With a good portion of delay, the US State Department finally took position on the Turkey-Libya Agreement and Ankara’s Claims that the Greek islands have neither Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf.

The agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea signed by Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya is “unproductive” and “provocative,” a US State Department spokesperson said late on Tuesday. Ankara’s claims are contrary to international law, which stipulates that islands have the same rights as mainland regions to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, the State Department spokesman added..

Responding to a question from the Athens news agency amna, the official said that “decisions that fail to take into account the interests of all the interested states are unhelpful [and] provocative.”

“Greece has overlapping maritime claims in the area that is included in the Turkey-Libya memorandum,” the spokesperson said, adding that it is a standing US policy to encourage states to resolve their problems in a peaceful way and in accordance with international law.

Linking the Turkish-Libyan agreement to what is happening in Libya, the spokesman stresses that “these developments underscore the danger that the conflict in Libya will take on a wider regional dimension and the urgent need for all stakeholders to work through it.”

On the question whether the Memorandum constitutes a violation of US law on Libya and whether its application exposes Turkish officials to sanctions, the spokesman replied that generally, the United States does not pre-empt or prejudge sanctions decisions, greeknewsonline reports.

In statements to the website Hellas Journal and Greek public broadcaster ERT, the spokesperson asked for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish-backed Syrian fighters and Russian mercenaries from Libya.

The US intervention comes just a few days before the Peace Conference on Libya in Berlin on upcoming Sunday.

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