Haftar gov’t seeks normal Israel ties, stirs uproar

Maariv newspaper said Haftar’s foreign minister hopes Libya could establish normal relations with Israel

The foreign minister of East Libya-based government has sparked uproar by suggesting normalizing relations with Israel.

Israeli newspaper Maariv said it made an interview with Abdelhadi Lahweij in Paris, during which he said he hopes Libya could establish normal ties with Israel if the Palestinian problem was solved.

“We are a member state of the Arab League and are committed to its decisions, as well as those of the UN,” Lahweij told the Hebrew-language newspaper.

“We support the rights of the people, including all of the rights of the Palestinian people. But we support regional peace, oppose terrorism, and fight it in Libya as well.”

But the local Alwasat news website cited a statement of the foreign ministry of the East Libya-based government denying the minister’s remarks.

The statement described the remarks as a “desperate attempt” by the Tripoli-based government to turn the Libyan public opinion against East Libya-based administration.

Israel have normal relations with only Egypt and Jordan, with it has signed peace agreements.

In April, forces aligned with East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord but has so far failed to make advances beyond the borders of the capital.

According to UN data, over 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the operation and more than 5,000 injured.
Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

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