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Libya suspends foreign minister over secret meeting with Israeli counterpart

The Libyan government suspended Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush after Israel revealed she had met with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen last week in Italy.
Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush holds a press conference at the end of an Arab foreign ministers meeting in Tripoli, January 22, 2023.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibeh suspended Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush Sunday evening, after the Israeli Foreign Ministry revealed that she had met last week in Rome with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. 

A statement issued by the Tripoli-based National Unity Government announced, "It was decided to suspend Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush and to launch an investigation against her." Israel and Libya do not have diplomatic relations.

Dbeibeh appointed Fathallah al-Zani, the current youth minister, to serve as interim foreign minister. Also on Sunday evening, Libyan-based Alwasat cited unnamed security sources who claimed that Mangoush had fled the country after the meeting became public and was headed for Turkey.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday afternoon had released a statement revealing that the two ministers had met the previous week in Italy, noting that it was the first-ever encounter between foreign ministers of the two countries. 

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