Libya Presidential Council suspends Foreign Minister Najla Al-Mangoush

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Libya LibyaThe Libyan Presidential Council, led by Mohammed Younis Al-Menfi, decided to suspend the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Najla al-Mangoush, from her functions on Saturday.

The Presidential Council states that Ms. Najla Al-Mangoush is suspended from work as a precautionary measure as part of the investigation into administrative violations attributed to her, represented by her monopolizing Libya’s foreign policy agenda without coordination with the Presidential Council. The decision adds that she is banned from traveling abroad until the investigation concludes and its result is presented to the Presidential Council.

In addition, an investigative commission will be formed, led by Vice-President Abdullah Hussein Al-Lafi and members Adel Muhammad Sultan and Ahmed Jumaa Aqoub, which will have to present the investigation results within fourteen days from the same decision.

Although the decision indicates “administrative violations” and “monopoly of foreign policies” as the reasons for the minister suspension, local media noted that the decision follows Al-Mangoush’s statements about the willingness of her country to cooperate with the US regarding the surrender of a former Libyan intelligence officer, Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi, suspected of having participated in the 1988 Lockerbie massacre. As a result, many parties accused the foreign minister of “working against Libya’s interests.”

On the other hand, Al-Mangoush denied ever saying that the man wanted to question the Lockerbie crisis could be released or interrogated, as some Libyan and international media had reported. On Sunday, the minister made it clear that the matter is legal and the attorney general has to decide.

The Government of National Unity, led by Abdel-Hamid Al-Dbeibah, released a statement defending Ms. Al-Mangoush’s work on Saturday evening. It affirmed that there is no legal right for the Presidential Council to appoint, cancel the appointment of executive authority members, suspend or investigate them, as these powers belong exclusively to the head of the national unity government according to the findings of the LPDF.

The declaration stresses the need for all authorities to follow the sound administrative procedures specified in the Constitutional Declaration and its annexes and the Libyan Political Agreement signed in Geneva and steer clear of anything that could cause overlapping powers or hinder the government’s work. Especially in this delicate moment that precedes the preparation of important legislation concerning the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for next 24 December.

The Prime Minister also invited the Foreign Minister to continue her work at the same pace, reiterating the “appreciation” for all the efforts made in carrying out her duties as requested. The note stressed the Cabinet’s efforts to unify institutions, bring views together and resolve political disputes through dialogue and positive communication between all parties so that elections can be a game-changer positively and constructively.

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