The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared on Sunday to shift blame to his Foreign Minister, for the disclosure of a secret meeting in last August with the Libyan counterpart, Najla Al-Mangoush, that had caused a backlash in Tripoli.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s office on August 26 went public with his having met Najla Mangoush, his Libyan counterpart, in Italy earlier in the month. The statement came on the heels of an Israeli media report about the meeting.
“It is not helpful, now that’s clear,” Netanyahu told Cypriot TV station ANT1 when asked about the publication of the meeting. He said he had issued a directive to all our government ministers that such meetings of this kind had to be cleared in advance with his office, and certainly their publication had to be cleared in advance with his office.
Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah issued a decision suspending Al-Mangoush pending investigation, and he later said in his first comment on the Rome sit-down between Al-Mangoush and her Israeli counterpart Cohen that “what happened in Rome was a serious matter, even if it was a side meeting or occurred by chance.”
The Office of the Attorney General announced on Saturday the formation of a probe regarding the Rome meeting, saying that the task of the committee would be investigating the amount of damage that happened to the interests of the Libyan state: based on the reports of the intelligence apparatuses; and to collect evidence materials to perform the procedure of interrogation of those who were invited to the meeting; including hearing the statements of those who knew about it.