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A triumph of cultural diplomacy in North Africa: Agreement to strengthen cooperation between Greece and Libya in the field of antiquities

A Libyan delegation, consisting of the Antiquities Authority and a representative of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Council of Ministers, agreed with the Greek authorities involved in the preservation of antiquities, to strengthen cooperation and cultural relations between the two countries.

The agreement includes the establishment of a joint archaeological mission that will operate on site, as stipulated by the Libyan law on antiquities, as well as the exchange of scientific visits and exhibitions aimed at shedding light on the cultural heritage of the two countries.

The agreement provided for cooperation in the field of combating illicit trafficking of cultural goods through the signing of relevant memoranda of understanding and the dispatch of experts specialised in the fields of museology to assess the conditions of Libyan museums and train their technical staff.

The geographical proximity and the long-standing Greek presence on the Libyan coast make the two countries natural partners. The friendly relations between the two countries are traditionally reflected in the numerous bilateral agreements covering a wide range of areas.

During the 2011 revolution and after its end, our country helped Libya politically and with humanitarian aid, while a significant number of wounded Libyans were also treated in Greek hospitals.

Since July 2014, when the country entered a period of civil conflict, foreign diplomatic missions in Libya, with few exceptions, have been suspended. The Greek Embassy in Tripoli temporarily suspended its operation on 31 July 2014, while it proceeded to evacuate 186 Greek and foreign citizens (Chinese, Cypriots, Cypriots, Belgians, British) who arrived at the port of Piraeus on the Greek Navy frigate "Salamis".

Due to the signing of the illegal Memorandum on the delimitation of maritime zones between the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya and Turkey (19.11.2019), our bilateral relations with the GNA suffered a blow.

As a sign of its strong dissatisfaction with the GNA, all the more so because the then Libyan Foreign Minister had previously denied any possibility of signing such an agreement, Greece declared the Libyan Ambassador persona non grata.

The ceasefire agreement (23.10.2020) allowed the intensification of efforts, mediated by the UN, for a political settlement of the Libyan crisis within the framework of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF). These efforts resulted in the election of a new transitional executive authority under the President of the Presidential Council Mohamed Younis Menfi (5.2.2021) and subsequently a vote of confidence by the Libyan Parliament in favour of a new transitional government under Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohamed Dbayba (15.3.2021).

The Foreign Ministry notes that Greece firmly supports the completion of efforts to achieve a political solution under Libyan ownership and leadership, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Berlin Process Conclusions. Greece believes that the basic precondition for the smooth development of the political process and for a viable solution is the observance of the ceasefire and the arms embargo, the withdrawal of all foreign forces, mercenaries and military bases and an end to all interventions by third countries.

Together with its EU partners, Greece participates in the efforts of the international community to establish the appropriate conditions of stability and security and the rule of law in Libya.

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