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Cyprus among five countries that present UNSG with note verbale on Tukey-Libya MoU

Cyprus, Bahrain, Egypt, Greece and Saudi Arabia have presented a note verbale to the UNSG requesting that the controversial Turkey-Libya MoU is not registered by the UN Secretariat

Newsroom / CNA

Cyprus, Bahrain, Egypt, Greece and Saudi Arabia have presented a note verbale to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterrres, outlining the reasons why the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of National Accord of Libya on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas in the Mediterranean in Istanbul on 27 November 2019 should not be registered by the UN Secretariat in the list of international treaties.

The Permanent Missions of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Republic of Cyprus, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Hellenic Republic, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia said in the note verbale dated July 9, 2020, that the MoU has been fuelling tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, which increased as a result of recent illegal actions stemming from it, leading to further polarisation and undermining efforts toward achieving the sought-after understanding among neighbouring nations, thus severely jeopardising the security and stability of the entire region.

They went on to note that the United Nations Secretariat must take into consideration that the MoU purports to delimit maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea, in complete disregard of the rights of other coastal states in the Eastern Mediterranean. The MoU’s purported delimitation, is contrary, inter alia, to the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ("UNCLOS"), which explicitly provides for the entitlement of islands to maritime zones, and infringes upon the sovereign rights of third States, hence cannot produce any legal consequences.

As it is noted, the MoU "fails to satisfy the registration procedures stipulated in Article 5/1 and 2 of the Annex; in particular any statement enclosed certifying the date and method of entry into force would be false and invalid, since the President of the Libyan House of Representatives made it clear in an official letter addressed to the Secretary General that the House of Representatives did not ratify and does not accept the MoU. Registering the MoU notwithstanding this crucial condition would not be in line with General Assembly resolution A/RES/73/210."

The five countries underlined that it is also important for the United Nations Secretariat to have regard to Article 80 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which reads: "Treaties shall, after their entry into force, be transmitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations for registration or filing and recording, as the case may be, and for publication".

Moreover, they said that resolution 2259 adopted on 23 December 2015, should also be taken into consideration during the registration process of the MoU.

"The latter blatantly violates the LPA (Libyan Political Agreement), in particular Article 8/2(f) which stipulates that the competences of the Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers (the "Presidency Council") as a whole, not its President individually, include concluding ‘international agreements and conventions provided that they are endorsed by the House of Representatives.’ This Article has been wholly ignored by the President of the Presidency Council by unilaterally signing the MoU and not seeking its ratification by the House of Representatives, thus the MoU has not entered into force. This is evident from the aforementioned letter addressed by the President of the Libyan House of Representatives to the Secretary General," they added.

The five countries noted that regardless of how it is presented, labelled or characterised, the MoU is undoubtedly an "international agreement" to which the prerequisite stipulated in the LPA, of endorsement by the Libyan House of Representatives, applies.

"The rejection of the MoU by the Libyan House of Representatives can only mean that it has not entered into effect under international law. While the MoU is presented as such to evade the internal procedure established in the LPA, it was deliberately drafted and simultaneously presented in the form of an international agreement, in order to be eligible for registration with the United Nations," they said.

They also stressed that the United Nations, in processing a treaty registration request, should consider along with the national dimensions, certain international dimensions. In this regard, the registration of the MoU raises very serious issues of an international nature, including for the role of the Organisation. The United Nations Secretariat, through the Secretary-General`s Special Representative, facilitated and endorsed the LPA and its terms. The Security Council has also, endorsed the LPA and its terms with Security Council Resolution 2259 (2015).

"Consequently, the United Nations Secretariat, by registering this MoU, would be disregarding acts that evidently aim at disrupting and impeding the implementation of the LPA, developments that, the Secretary General has a responsibility, to report to the Security Council," they said.

Cyprus  |  Bahrain  |  Greece  |  Saudi Arabia  |  Egypt  |  UN  |  note verbal  |  Turkey  |  Libya  |  memorandum of understanding  |  maritime  |  borders  |  Eastern Mediterranean  |  treaty

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