The Government of Libya has dismissed Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala after he held a high-profile meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi earlier this week. The Libyan government has called the move “inconsistent with the policies and principles of Libyan foreign policy”.
The meeting sparked outrage among Libyans and was met with a wave of condemnation from the public. It was also condemned by Palestinians, who view it as capitulating to Israel, and by Libyans, who were angry about the lack of coordination with government members.
The meeting was coordinated by the United Arab Emirates, which hosted the Israeli foreign minister in Abu Dhabi in October. The country has also brokered normalization deals between Israel and other Arab countries, including the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan. It is not known what was discussed during the meeting, but some have suggested that it may have centered on topics such as security, energy, and diplomatic cooperation.
Siala’s dismissal is seen as a warning to other Libyan officials not to engage in unauthorized bilateral talks with Israel. This incident has also cast doubt on the current UN-backed negotiations to form a unity government in Libya.