Israel claims its foreign minister met Libyan counterpart to discuss 'possibilities of cooperation',

Israel claims its foreign minister met Libyan counterpart to discuss 'possibilities of cooperation',
2 min read
An Israeli statement has said that Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his Libyan counterpart Najla Mangoush
Eli Cohen claimed to have met his Libyan counterpart Najla Mangoush (pictured) [Getty]

Israel's foreign minister allegedly held a meeting with Libya's foreign minister in Italy last week, even though the two countries do not have diplomatic relations, a statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The statement said that the meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush was facilitated by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani.

"I spoke with the foreign minister about the great potential for the two countries from their relations," Cohen said in the statement, "as well as the importance of preserving the heritage of Libyan Jewry, which includes renovating synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in the country."

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The ministers discussed historic ties between the countries, and "the possibility of cooperation between the countries, and Israeli aid in humanitarian issues, agriculture, water management," according to the statement.

However, there was no official statement from Libya confirming the meeting, as of Sunday afternoon.

If the Israeli statement is confirmed, this would be the first ever meeting between foreign ministers of Libya and Israel.

However, there have been reports of Israeli officials meeting with disputed Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibah and his rival, east-based warlord Khalifa Haftar before.

Israel has normalised its relations with Arab states Bahrain, the UAE, and Morocco since 2020. However, Palestinians have slammed the normalisation deals, pointing out that they reward Israel while it continues to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip. 

(Reuters and The New Arab Staff)