Days after learning of a secret meeting between the two nations’ foreign ministers, one of Libya’s rival prime ministers rejected on Thursday the idea of mending relations with Israel.
Eli Cohen, the foreign minister of Israel, revealed last Sunday that he and the foreign minister of Libya had met privately in Rome the week before, the first-ever meeting between senior diplomats from the two nations. Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah of Libya suspended Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush the following day and opened an investigation into the meeting.
Libya, which has always been hostile to Israel and in favor of the Palestinians, has a statute from 1957 that makes it unlawful to normalize relations with Israel.
Dbeibah declared, “We affirm our rejection of any form of normalization,” during a cabinet meeting that was broadcast on Thursday night. “Long live Libya, long live Palestine, and long live the Palestinian cause in all of our hearts,” he said.
The Foreign Ministry of Israel refuses to respond to Dbeibah’s comments. Mangoush fled to Turkey out of concern for her safety after the encounter sparked irate street protests in a number of Libyan cities. Her precise location is still unknown. Regarding the Rome conference, Dbeibah added, “Unfortunately, there was one person in the government who acted independently.
He said that severe measures would be implemented in retaliation but gave no other information.
The Associated Press was previously informed by two top-ranking Libyan government officials that the prime minister was aware of the discussions between his foreign minister and the chief diplomat of Israel.
Dbeibah approved the meeting, according to one of the officials, and Mangoush informed the prime minister about it once she returned to Tripoli, according to the second source.
The second insider added that Dbeibah granted the Abraham Accords, which were mediated by the United States, his initial approval, but he was wary of public backlash in a nation where there is tremendous support for the Palestinian cause.
Due to the sensitivity of the subject, the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.
After longstanding ruler Moammar Gadhafi was ousted in 2011 by an uprising supported by NATO, Libya descended into turmoil. The Tripoli-based government, which is supported by the West, and the country’s east-based rival government have been at odds for many years.
Armed organizations and foreign governments have supported both sides.