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Following Libya uproar, Israel Premier orders consent before covert meetings publicised

August 29, 2023 at 6:21 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (L) visit the site of the shooting where a settler was killed and another seriously injured in Hebron, West Bank on August 21, 2023 [Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO) / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday ordered his ministers to get approval from his office before publicising secret diplomatic meetings, Anadolu Agency reports.

The move came two days after the controversial first-ever meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, and his Libyan counterpart, Najla Al-Mangoush, held in Rome last week, made headlines.

The meeting triggered a storm of anger and protests in Libya, with Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, sacking Mangoush.

According to Israeli public broadcaster, KAN, Netanyahu’s new directive requires his Cabinet ministers to get a green light from his office before publicising any covert diplomatic meetings.

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KAN did not specify whether Netanyahu was aware about the secret meeting between the Israeli and Libyan foreign ministers being publicised.

On Sunday, Cohen said the meeting with his Libyan counterpart explored the possibilities for cooperation and relations between the countries and the preservation of the heritage of Libyan Jews.

But the Libyan Foreign Ministry said the meeting was “informal” and “impromptu” and did not involve any discussion, agreement or consultation.

However, Yedioth Ahronoth daily, citing unnamed Israeli officials, said the meeting was “coordinated at the highest level” between the two countries and took place with Netanyahu’s knowledge.

Libya does not recognise Israel and does not have diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv. It is forbidden by law to have relations with Israel.

Six Arab countries have established diplomatic ties with Israel, starting with Egypt in 1979, Jordan in 1994, and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in 2020.

READ: Israel: dispute between Mossad and foreign ministry after secret Libyan meeting