Libya’s premier suspends foreign minister over secret meeting with Israeli envoy Featured

Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibeh suspended Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush on Sunday after she secretly met in Rome with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

"It was decided to suspend Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush and to launch an investigation against her," said a decree published by the Government of National Unity.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Saturday said a “historic meeting” was held last week between the foreign ministers of Israel and Libya.

Pointing out that the meeting was the first between the foreign ministers of the two countries, it said they discussed the historical ties between the two nations, the legacy of the Libyan Jews, and the possibility of bilateral cooperation.

Dbeibeh appointed Fathallah Al-Zani, the current youth minister, as interim foreign minister and referred al-Mangoush to an investigation panel.

The Libyan Foreign Ministry later released a statement saying the meeting between al-Mangoush and her Israeli counterpart was “not official.”

The North African country does not recognize Israel and does not have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv. It is forbidden by law to have relations with Israel.

“This was an informal and impromptu meeting that took place in Rome during the meeting with the Italian foreign minister. It did not involve any discussion, agreement or consultation,” it said.

It also reaffirmed its full commitment to concerns regarding issues of Arab and Islamic countries, especially the Palestinian issue, and emphasized its adherence to Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Palestine.

The ministry emphasized that it “completely and unequivocally rejects normalization with the Zionist formation” and reaffirmed that its stance is firm towards the Palestinian cause and the brotherly Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, a group of activists gathered in front of the Foreign Ministry building in Tripoli and in other provinces to protest the meeting between al-Mangoush and Cohen.

Local media cited witnesses as saying that gunfire was heard in front of the ministry, adding that protesters also set fire to Dbeibeh’s residence in the Shatt al-Hanshir area of Tripoli.

The Libyan House of Representatives, meanwhile, called for an emergency session on Monday to discuss the "crime committed against the Libyan people."

Security agency denies facilitation to Mangoush

While security sources said al-Mangoush departed Tripoli for Istanbul on a Libyan government plane with assistance from the Internal Security Agency, the institution denied the claims.

“The Internal Security Agency denies what is being circulated on social media regarding allowing or facilitating the travel of the suspended Minister of Foreign Affairs who did not pass through the official channels at the Mitiga airport outlet, whether the regular, private or presidential terminal," the agency said in a statement.

The agency “confirms the presidency and members of their standing together with the aspirations of the Libyan people and respecting their feelings, which we share with them towards all issues, especially the Palestinian cause,” it added.

It "included the name of the concerned person in the list of those banned from traveling until they comply with the investigations."

“We also warn and note paid pages and electronic accounts that have been seeking for days to spread rumors by fabricating false stories, falsifying facts, and fabricating charges, as well as those who incite the sabotage of state public institutions and property.

“All legal measures will be taken against anyone whose involvement is proven in accordance with legal procedures,” the agency said.

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 August 2023 07:02