Giorgos Protopapas: The Turkish-Libyan memorandum is up in the air after the conditional truce in Libya

Giorgos Protopapas: The Turkish-Libyan memorandum is up in the air after the conditional truce in Libya

An agreement on a permanent ceasefire in Libya was reached by the two warring parties, after five days of talks at the UN office in Geneva, upsetting the existing balance. The development appears positive for Greek national interests, as the Geneva agreement states that the cooperation agreements with foreign countries, concluded by the Tripoli government of the outgoing Prime Minister Fayez al-Saraj, are suspended, until a new government is formed.

The illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum for the delimitation of the maritime zones is seriously questioned. For this reason, Tayyip Erdogan appeared anxious and questioned the Geneva agreement, stating that, “its credibility does not seem very possible to me. Time will tell how long it will last.” The head of the Libyan parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, Talal Al-Mihoub, refuted Erdogan’s statements, which culminated in the Geneva agreement.

Erdogan is escalating tensions in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, based on the illegal Ankara-Tripoli memorandum, and its eventual cancellation by a new government will demolish his plans. On the one hand, he will lose any “legitimacy” he wants to present to the international community on expansion strategies in the Eastern Mediterranean. On the other hand, he will appear as a loser in Turkish public opinion, as his propaganda will collapse.

The UN described the ceasefire as “an important turning point in peace and stability in Libya”, agreed between the military representatives of the internationally recognized government of Tripoli and the Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar. The next stage includes a political forum to be held in November in Tunisia. Its goal, according to the UN, is to reach a consensus on a single framework of governance and rules, which will lead to national elections.

Under the terms of the ceasefire, all mercenaries and foreign fighters must have left Libya within three months. However, the success of the project is related to other factors, which touch on sensitive balances and foreign interventions. How to ensure the removal of foreign mercenaries and what will happen to the prisoners on both sides. The EU also welcomed the Geneva agreement, calling it “good news” and calling for it to be implemented, in order to allow the resumption of peace talks.

The truce and Erdogan

The warring parties, the government of National Unity in Tripoli and the Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar, backed by paramilitary groups, are seeking to gain power and wealth in Libya. At the same time, regional and Western powers have chosen sides to exert influence in Libya for strategic and energy reasons.

Islamist extremist mercenaries sent by Turkey to fight on the side of the Tripoli government changed the course of the war and rescued outgoing Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Saraj. The Geneva agreement, if reached, is a blow to Turkey’s strategic interests in Libya.

The question that arises is how to maintain the ceasefire, as Libya is a “proxy war” field with Turkey as the main player. Tayyip Erdogan has every interest in spoiling the agreement on a permanent ceasefire. The agreement must have safety valves in order to be reached, so that it does not collapse from a single incident of violation.

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