Libya court suspends energy deal with Turkiye


A Libyan court on Monday suspended an energy exploration agreement the Tripoli government signed with Turkiye last year, a judicial source said. Reuters reports.

The agreement included space for oil and gas exploration in waters declared their own by Ankara and Tripoli, but which are also partially claimed by Egypt and Greece.

The deal sparked rivalry in the eastern Mediterranean and sparked a political stalemate in Libya between the government of national unity (GNU) in Tripoli, western Libya, and an eastern-based parliament that rejects its legitimacy.

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Tripoli’s appeals court, which issued Monday’s decision, allowed the GNU to appeal the ruling itself, the source said, without giving further details about the decision.

Turkiye sent military aid to Tripoli in 2019 to help the then internationally recognized government there repel an attack on the capital by eastern forces in the civil war, who were backed by Egypt.

READ: Turkiye, Libya sign agreements on hydrocarbons, gas

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Later that year, Ankara and Tripoli struck a deal to establish a maritime border in the eastern Mediterranean, also disputed by Egypt and Turkey’s historic rival Greece, leading both countries to reject the agreement.

The GNU was installed in early 2021 through a UN-backed peace process and was initially backed by the Eastern Parliament.

It maintains close ties with Turkiye and in October closed the preliminary deal on energy exploration that the court suspended on Monday.

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That deal had been rejected by the eastern-based parliament, which said the Tripoli government no longer had a mandate to make international agreements, as well as by both Egypt and Greece.

The GNU had no immediate comment on Monday’s court ruling.

Libya, the third-largest oil producer in North Africa, has been in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising overthrew the ousted autocrat, Muammar Gaddafi.

READ: Quarrel between Athens and Tripoli: why is Greece so angry with Libya?