Israeli Official: Libyan Foreign Minister’s Meeting was “Pre-Planned”


An Israeli official stated on Monday that Libyan Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush and her Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen engaged in a conversation for over two hours during a meeting in Italy. He told Reuters that the meeting was prearranged at the “highest levels” in Libya, contradicting Libyan statements of an unplanned encounter that sparked protests across the country.

Libya does not recognize Israel, and supports the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The Foreign Ministry in Tripoli stated that Al-Mangoush had refused to hold any meetings with Israeli representatives, and what occurred in Rome was an “incidental, unofficial meeting during a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani.”

However, the Israeli official cast doubt on this account, saying, “The meeting was prearranged at the highest levels in Libya, and lasted for about two hours. The Libyan Prime Minister views Israel as a potential bridge to the West and the US administration.”

Notably, the Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba dismissed Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush after the secret meeting triggered protests.

The dismissal comes after Dbaiba temporarily suspended Al-Mangoush, and initiated an investigation into her conduct.

Al-Mangoush could face a prison sentence according to Libyan law, following her controversial meeting.

Article 7 of Libyan law number 62, issued in 1957 concerning the boycott of Israel, prescribes that “a prison sentence of not less than three years and not more than 10 years, along with a fine not exceeding 5,000 dinars, will be administered to anyone who engages in any agreement with any entities or individuals residing in Israel, or who have Israeli nationality or work on its behalf.”

The Libyan Parliament has summoned its members for an urgent session in Benghazi to discuss what it labelled as a “crime against the Libyan people and its national principles.”