Greece on Friday said it was expelling the Libyan ambassador to the country, angered at an accord signed on Nov. 27 between Libya and Turkey mapping out a sea boundary between the two countries close to Crete.
Mohamed Younis AB Menfi had 72 hours to leave the country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told a news briefing. Dendias called the Turkey-Libyan accord a ‘blatant violation of international law’.
The move did not mean Greece was severing diplomatic relations with Libya, Dendias said.
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala said on Friday that Greece's decision to expel Libya's ambassador was unacceptable.
“The move is unacceptable,” Siyala told Reuters. Greece does not have diplomatic representation in Libya, but Libya would have reciprocated the move if it did, he said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey condemned Greece over its expulsion of the Libyan ambassador.
The expulsion is the latest twist in a saga of Mediterranean states jostling to claim yet-untapped oil and gas in the region.
Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya signed the accord defining their boundaries and a deal on expanded security and military cooperation, a step Turkey said was protecting its rights.
Greece immediately shot back, calling the accord absurd because it ignored the presence of Crete between the coasts of Turkey and Libya.
Greece and Turkey are at odds over a host of issues ranging from mineral rights in the Aegean Sea to ethnically-split
Cyprus. Tensions are also running high because of Turkish drilling off Cyprus, and the European Union has prepared sanctions against Turkey in response.
On Thursday, Cyprus said it was petitioning the International Court of Justice to safeguard its offshore rights.