CAIRO – 7 November 2021: The Libyan Presidential Council issued a decision to suspend the Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Al-Manqoush, as a precaution, and refer her for investigation, according to the Presidential Council’s spokesperson Najwa Wahiba on Saturday.
Wahiba added that the Council had decided to suspend the Libyan Foreign Minister after she had issued decisions in foreign policy without coordinating with the Council, which violates the political agreement.
The Presidential Council had also banned the Libyan Foreign Minister from traveling.
Appointing a committee and submitting a report
The statement of the Libyan Presidential Council noted a committee will be established to investigate the detained Minister, and submit a report within a maximum of 14 days from the date of the decision’s issuance.
It is noteworthy that this decision came after former Libyan intelligence official, Abu Ajila Massoud, had returned to the political arena. Tripoli had previously announced its readiness to extradite Massoud to the United States, in light of his involvement in the bombing of an American plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
Libya's Foreign Minister announces the government's intention to cooperate with USA
Earlier, Al-Manqoush stated the Libyan government intends to cooperate with the United States to extradite Massoud, who is accused in the Lockerbie case. She said in an interview with the BBC on Wednesday that the Libyan government recognizes the pain and grief of the families of the Lockerbie victims, but it needs to respect the laws.
Al-Manqoush remains the first Libyan woman to occupy the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She assumed the duties of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the Government of National Unity in mid-March, succeeding former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Al-Wefaq, Muhammad Siala, in the presence of the undersecretaries of the ministry and several directors of departments and sections.
Libya's Government of National Unity Sunday rejected a decision by the country's presidential council to suspend the foreign minister and said in a statement that the presidential council doesn't have the right to suspend Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush. and hailed the minister's efforts as the county's chief diplomat.
The government said that naming members of the government and suspending or investigating government officials are duties exclusive to the prime minister.
The long-waited vote still faces other challenges, including unresolved issues over the country's elections laws and occasional fighting among armed groups. Other obstacles include the deep rift that remains between the country's east and west and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and troops.
Libya has been engulfed in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. He was captured and killed by an armed group two months later.
The oil-rich country was for years split between rival governments, one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the eastern part of the country. Each side is backed by different foreign powers and militias.
The interim government now in charge was appointed in February after months of U.N.-backed negotiations to lead the country through elections. It includes the presidential council and a Cabinet of ministers that runs the day-to-day affairs.