Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla El Mangoush in Rome last week, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed on Sunday.
During this first meeting, Cohen and El Mangoush examined the possibilities for cooperation and relationship between the two countries, as well as preserving the heritage of Libyan Jewry.
“The historic meeting with the Foreign Minister of Libya, Najla El Mangoush, is the first step in the relationship between Israel and Libya,” Cohen said.
“The size and strategic location of Libya make ties with it enormously important and have enormous potential for the State of Israel," Cohen continued.
"I spoke with the foreign minister about the great potential for the two countries from their relations, as well as the importance of preserving the heritage of Libyan Jewry, which includes renovating synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in the country.”
Until the early 1950s, a significant Jewish community lived in Libya, most of whom immigrated to Israel beginning in the 1930s and during the first years following the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.
Cohen also thanked Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani for hosting the meeting in Italy last week.
Israel is steadily working to expand the circle of peace and normalization of relations with other countries throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Cohen added.
El Mangoush, the first woman to serve as Libya's foreign minister, represents the internationally recognized government of Libya. The nation has been split into two rival areas since 2014 when a civil war broke out in the country, ending with a ceasefire in 2020.
The recognized government, led by interim Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, controls the western portion of the state and is based in the capital Tripoli, while the eastern part is controlled by General Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Arab Army.
The Libyan foreign ministry did not comment on the meeting.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.