Tripoli, Libya – Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh has suspended Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush and referred her to an investigatory committee, following revelations that Mangoush privately met with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Rome last week, sparking outrage in Libya which has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel.
Protesters gathered outside Dbeibeh’s Tripoli home demanding accountability, while others stormed the downtown Foreign Ministry building where Mangoush’s office is located. According to Israel’s statement, the two FMs discussed potential bilateral relations and preserving Jewish sites in Libya during the secret meeting facilitated by Italy’s FM.
Libya’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged the controversial encounter but claimed it was unplanned with no agreements made, denying any normalization talks with Israel and reaffirming its support for Palestinians.
The caretaker Dbeibeh government faces heightened criticism over security in Tripoli and nationwide following deadly clashes between armed groups last week underscoring the limits of Dbeibeh’s pledges to rein in militias.
Meanwhile, the dispute between Libya’s factions over holding elections has plunged the country into impasse. Mangoush’s meeting with Israel despite longstanding anti-normalization laws threatens to further inflame tensions.