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Greece threatens to expel Libya envoy over Turkey deal

Greece’s foreign minister on Monday threatened to expel the Libyan ambassador to Athens unless provided with details of a military deal that Tripoli signed with Ankara last week.

Greece wants to see the agreement by Friday “or (the ambassador) will be declared persona non grata and will leave,” Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told Skai TV.

“Not only do we not know the contents (of the deal) but they are being carefully concealed from us,” Dendias said, adding that Athens felt “deceived” after being told by Tripoli in September that no such deal would be signed.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the weekend also said Athens would seek support from NATO over the issue.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week met with the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Prime Minister Fayed al-Sarraj, to sign agreements on security and military cooperation, as well as maritime jurisdictions.

The agreements have also raised hackles in Egypt and Cyprus.

“An alliance cannot remain indifferent when one of its members openly violates international law and aims (to harm) another member,” Mitsotakis said in a speech to his New Democracy party on Sunday.

Dendias has said the maritime boundaries deal “verges on the ridiculous” as it fails to take into account the Greek island of Crete.

Greece last week expressed its dissatisfaction with the accord and summoned the Libyan and Turkish ambassadors to ask for information on its content.

Dendias on Sunday met his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Choukry in Cairo to discuss the matter.

The deal comes despite calls from the Arab League – which includes Libya – to end cooperation with Turkey in protest over its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria last month.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE back Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman in eastern Libya who launched an offensive in April in a bid to seize Tripoli from fighters loyal to the GNA.

Turkey and Qatar openly support his rival Sarraj.

Located in the southeastern Mediterranean, Greece – a NATO member like Turkey – maintains a delicate relationship with its neighbour, which has become a gateway to Europe with thousands of asylum-seekers flocking to the Greek islands.

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