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Greek PM Mitsotakis to visit Libya next week, reopen embassy after over six years

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will hold a landmark visit to Libya next week and reopen the country’s embassy after over six years, Athens said Thursday.

Mitsotakis will travel to Tripoli on Tuesday “to normalize and restore relations,” Greek government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni told reporters.

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Accompanied by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, the prime minister is to meet with the head of the presidential council, Mohammad Younes Menfi, and interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, Peloni said.

The visit will “signal the Greek embassy’s immediate reopening,” she said.

Greece’s embassy in Tripoli has been closed since July 2014, when a Greek navy frigate helped to evacuate nearly 200 Greeks and other foreigners from the country.

Foreign Minister Dendias had previously visited Tobruk in July 2020 for talks with parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.

Oil-rich Libya has been torn by civil war since a NATO-backed uprising led to the toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

During the Libyan civil strife, Athens had backed the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar after the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed a controversial maritime agreement with Turkey in 2019.

Athens is fiercely opposed to the deal between Ankara and Tripoli, which claims much of the Mediterranean for energy exploration, conflicting with rival claims by Greece and Cyprus.

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