After meeting with Israeli diplomat, Libya’s suspended FM flees country

On the other hand, Israeli lawmakers also lashed out at their Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, and called for his resignation for leaking the news of the meeting.

Libya’s foreign minister, Najla al-Mangoush was suspended and fled the country on Monday, August 28 after the Israel diplomat official disclosed news of their meeting held in Italy.

Soon after the news came to the public, the Libyan protesters hit the streets in the capital Tripoli, and some other cities, demanding action against Mangoush for “breaking the laws of Libya”.

Prime Minister of Libya, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah claimed to have suspended FM Najla Mangoush and ordered an investigation over the meeting between Libya’s and Israel’s top officials.

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Dbeibah did not specify on what grounds Mangoush would be investigated. However, a 1957 legislation in Libya, which has historically been opposed to Israel, makes it unlawful to normalise relations with Israel.

Meanwhile, following a massive outrage, Mangoush fled to Turkey according to a Libyan Foreign Ministry official.

On the other hand, Israeli lawmakers also lashed out at their Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, and called for his resignation for leaking the news of the meeting.

The meeting between Israel’s FM, Eli Cohen, and Najla El Mangoush was held last week and facilitated by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, the statement added on Sunday, August 27.

The North African country does not recognise Israel nor does it have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv.

Under a 1957 Libyan law, dealing with Israel is punishable by up to nine years in prison.

Cohen said the meeting was “the first step” toward building future ties with Libya and their discussions encompassed preserving the heritage of the Jewish community in the North African nation and renovating synagogues there.

Shortly after the revelation, Libyan Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah announced the suspension of al-Mangoush.

On Monday, Israeli Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli called on Cohen to resign, accusing him of causing “unprecedented” damage.

In a statement, she said that a hasty publication has “ruined the life of the Libyan minister who has had to flee to Turkey and has caused international damage to Israel.”

Opposition leader and former Foreign Minister Yair Lapid criticized Cohen as “amateurish”.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Lapid wrote that the publication of the meeting was “irresponsible” and “putting in danger” Mangoush’s life.

“Countries of the world this morning are looking at the irresponsible leak of the meeting of the Israeli and Libyan foreign minister and asking themselves: Is it possible to manage foreign relations with this country? Is it possible to trust this country?” he said in a statement.

Benny Gantz, a prominent opposition leader, and former Defence Minister, said that Israel’s foreign relations are “a sensitive and serious matter, certainly when it comes to ties with Arab countries and certainly those with which we do not have official relations.”

He accused Cohen of acting for the sake of “PR (public relations) and headlines, with zero responsibility.”

Also slamming the Foreign Minister’s move, Israel’s Channel 12 commented that Cohen’s announcement had seriously damaged the Jewish state’s credibility.

Israel has normalised relations with some Arab countries in recent years as part of US-backed deals known as the Abraham Accords.

(With inputs from agencies)

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