Libya prosecutor promises to investigate secret meeting with Israel

Libya prosecutor promises to investigate secret meeting with Israel

Libya’s chief prosecutor plans to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate a meeting between the foreign minister of one of the country’s rival governments and Israel’s chief diplomat, he said on Saturday.

The August 22 meeting caused uproar across the country.

Najla Mangoush, as foreign minister of the Tripoli-based government, and Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met in Rome in what was the first meeting between senior officials of Libya and Israel.

Libya made establishing ties with Israel a crime in 1957.

On Saturday, General Prosecutor Al-Sediq Al Sour said the fact-finding mission would look at breaches of Libya’s rules of boycotting Israel and “investigate the extent of damage to Libya’s interests” because of the Mangoush-Cohen meeting.

Ms Mangoush fled to Turkey after being fired for having the meeting, and it is thought she may now be in the UK.

Dozens of military vehicles, some armed with heavy weapons, were stationed on major roads and traffic intersections on Friday in Tripoli to prevent further protests.

Activists had renewed calls for demonstrations against the interim government of national unity (GNU) and Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh over the meeting.

Libya has had little peace or stability since a 2011 Nato-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Qaddafi.

The country was split in 2014 between warring factions that claimed rival governments and legislative bodies.

Major warfare paused in 2020 but a political process to unify Libya and hold elections has stalled, with the eastern-based parliament and other parts of the political system rejecting the GNU’s legitimacy.

Powerful armed factions in Tripoli have continued to support Mr Dbeibeh and they stopped a rival government appointed by the parliament from taking office in the capital during a day of fighting last year.

However, clashes last month between those same factions in Tripoli that are aligned with Mr Dbeibeh underscored the risk of further warfare without a stable political settlement.

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