Israel: Sit-down of Libya’s FM with Cohen known to higher-ups, pre-arranged

Reuters reported on Monday that the Libyan and Israeli Foreign Ministers had spoken for more than two hours last week in a meeting approved “at the highest levels” in Libya, adding that the Rome encounter was more of a pre-arranged sit-down.

Reuters cited an Israeli official as contradicting Libyan Foreign Ministry and Government of National Unity’s statements of “a by-chance encounter”.

The Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, temporarily suspended on Monday Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush, pending investigation into a meeting she had held in Rome with the Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen.

The suspension followed a wave of angry protests across western Libya, especially Tripoli, Al-Zawiya and their suburbs, with Libyans calling on Al-Mangoush to be punished for opening ties with Israel.

The Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a statement Sunday night saying the meeting happened in an informal capacity while Al-Mangoush was holding bilateral talks with Italy’s Tajani in Rome.

The FMA said Al-Mangoush knew very well the constants of the Palestinian Cause and would not conduct any relations or meetings with any representatives of Israel.

The Israeli official disputed that account, telling Reuters that the meeting was coordinated at the highest levels in Libya and lasted almost two hours.

“The Libyan Prime Minister sees Israel as a possible bridge to the West and the US administration.” The official said, according to the report by Reuters.

While the Prime Minister said he had replaced Al-Mangoush as she would be investigated, he announced that the Minister of Youth Mohammed Al-Zinni, stepped in her place as an acting FM.

Social media and news outlets reported flight monitoring websites as publishing a Libyan government flight taking off from Tripoli toward an unidentified destination: but some sources said the flight was for Al-Mangoush who landed later in Istanbul: news that is yet to be verified.


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