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Greece Orders Expulsion of Libyan Envoy over Tripoli-Ankara Sea Deal

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told reporters on Friday that Libyan Ambassador Mohamed Younis A.B. Menfi had 72 hours to leave Greece, citing a maritime boundary deal Libya had sealed with Turkey behind Athens’s back. The boundary is close to the Greek island of Crete. The Al Jazeera news channel reported that according to Greek officials, Libya had provided assurances that there would be no deal. While speaking at Friday’s news conference Dendias – who stopped short of declaring an end to diplomatic ties with Tripoli – called the Turkey-Libyan accord a “blatant violation of international law.” Ankara has been raising hackles in recent months over gas and oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean basin, most notably by sending drilling vessels to search for energy resources in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus. During a Friday visit to Rome, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the expulsion order against the Libyan ambassador “immature diplomatic behavior” and “outrageous.”