Tripoli, Aug 28 (EFE).- Libya’s prime minister has temporarily suspended the national unity government’s foreign minister after she held talks with her Israeli counterpart.
The meeting between Libya’s Najla al-Mangoush and Israel’s Eli Cohen took place last week in Rome but was made public on Sunday sparking protests across the country.
Angry demonstrations broke out in several Libyan cities on Sunday night and parliament called an emergency meeting for Monday to address an incident that various institutions described as unacceptable.
Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah announced the opening of an “administrative investigation” to be carried out by a commission chaired by the Justice Minister.
Cohen described the meeting with Mangoush as “historic” and as “the first step in the relationship between Israel and Libya.”
Cohen said the meeting was aimed at “examining possibilities for cooperation and relations between the countries and the preservation of the heritage of Libyan Jewry.”
“We are working with a series of countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia with the aim of expanding the circle of peace and normalization of Israel,” Cohen added.
Libya’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the meeting was a “chance and unofficial encounter” and condemned how Hebrew, international and Libyan media had covered the event.
Protests erupted on Sunday in Tripoli as people took to the streets and scorched tires, forcing the closure of a road linking the capital and the coastal city of Al Zawiya (northwest).
In the neighboring city of Tayura angry protesters demanded the immediate resignation of the Dbeibah government.
The High State Council, one of Libya’s top governing bodies, described the meeting as offensive to the rich history of the country’s struggle in supporting the Palestinian cause and urged all relevant authorities to take the necessary measures and be held accountable.
Libya has been split in two since 2014 with two opposing governments: the internationally recognised National Unity Government in Tripoli and its rival House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk.EFE