Turkey, Libya sign maritime hydrocarbons deal

Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli government on Monday signed deal in the North African country’s capital, allowing for oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters, Turkish network NTV reported.

The deal arrives  three years after a maritime border agreement them sparking controversy and anger among countries across the eastern Mediterranean region.

“We’ve signed a Memorandum of Understanding on exploration for hydrocarbons in Libya’s territorial waters and on Libyan soil, by mixed Turkish-Libyan companies,” NTV cited Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as saying at a press conference.

The new accord is between "two sovereign countries -- it's win-win for both, and other countries have no right to interfere," Çavuşoğlu said.

A separate agreement on natural gas would be signed later on Monday between the two countries, Çavuşoğlu added.

Najla al-Mangoush, foreign minister in Libya's Government of National Unity (GNA), said the deal of importance, especially in light of "the Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions" for energy markets.

The deal was rejected by a rival administration in the war-torn country's east, Reuters reported.

In November 2019, Ankara and the Tripoli-based GNA signed a maritime agreement to establish an exclusive economic zone to legitimise Turkey’s claims to offshore gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean. The deal arrived amid a year-long battle between rival governments vying for control of the oil rich African nation's capital.

Turkey’s support for the country’s U.N.-recognized GNA, including the supply of drones, prevented forces loyal to Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s forces, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), from overtaking capital Tripoli.

Turkey continues to play a major role in western Libya, where rival governments are again vying for control two years since the ending of the last major conflict.

Çavuşoğlu was accompanied in Tripoli by a high-level delegation, including Turkey's energy, defence and trade ministers.

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