Libyan foreign minister dismissed after meeting with Israel

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Libya's prime minister fired Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush late on Sunday and referred her for an investigation after Israel's government said its foreign minister Eli Cohen met with her. last week in Rome, despite the fact that the countries do not maintain diplomatic relations.

At the meeting, according to Israel, they discussed possible cooperation. After public disclosure of this meeting, protests began in various parts of Libya that escalated. At midnight this Monday, a crowd stormed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Tripoli, in protest at the meeting between the two counterparts. Several agencies reported that there were no injuries, but there were damages.

"I have spoken with the Foreign Minister about the great potential their relations hold for the two countries," Israel's Cohen said in a statement. And, that he had spoken with Mangoush about the importance of preserving Jewish heritage in Libya, according to Reuters. The meeting was facilitated by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, according to Israel.

The Italian counterpart, Antonio Tajani, facilitated a meeting

The Libyan Foreign Ministry said Mangoush had refused a meeting with Israeli representatives and that what had occurred was "a chance and unprepared meeting during a meeting at the Italian Foreign Ministry." The Libyan ministry's statement said the interaction did not include "any discussion, agreement or consultation," adding that the ministry "renews its total and utter rejection of normalization" with Israel.

Since 2020, Israel has taken steps to normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan through the so-called "Abraham Accords" brokered by the United States.

Libyan foreign policy is complicated by its years of conflict and bitter internal divisions over control of the government and the legitimacy of any measures taken by the Tripoli administration.

The Government of National Unity was installed in early 2021 through a UN-backed peace process, but its legitimacy has been questioned since early 2022 by the eastern-based parliament after a failed attempt to hold elections.

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