Libyan ex-foreign minister leaving for Qatar talks: London

12th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libyan former foreign minister Mussa Kussa is leaving Britain on Tuesday for talks in Qatar ahead of a meeting there of an international contact group on Libya, the Foreign Office said.

"We understand that he is travelling today to Doha to meet with the Qatari government and a range of other Libyan representatives to offer insights in advance of the contact group meeting," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

She declined to give any more details on his plans, including whether he had already left Britain or whether he intended to return, saying: "Mussa Kussa is a free individual who can travel to and from the UK as he wishes."

Kussa arrived in Britain unexpectedly on March 30 and immediately quit his post as foreign minister in Moamer Kadhafi's regime.

The former Kadhafi regime stalwart was leaving Britain a day after he broke cover for the first time since arriving and warned that Libya risked becoming a "new Somalia" torn apart by civil war.

"I ask everyone, all the parties, to avoid taking Libya into a civil war," he said in a broadcast statement to the BBC on Monday.

"This would lead to so much blood and Libya will be a new Somalia," he said. "We refuse to divide Libya.

"The unity of Libya is essential to any resolution and settlement for Libya," he added.

"My country lives in a difficult time, it's the worst," the former intelligence chief said.

"When the Libyans started to lose security and stability I decided to resign. I have no contact now with the Libyan regime."

The Libya contact group, set up at a conference in London on March 29, will hold its first meeting in the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday.

While in Britain, Kussa has been in detailed talks with British officials, although no details have been released.

He was also interviewed by Scottish detectives investigating the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing to establish the extent of his knowledge about the attack.

Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi is the only man convicted over the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people.

Mussa was head of Libyan intelligence for 15 years before his appointment as foreign minister in March 2009.

He is however credited with convincing Kadhafi to dismantle his nuclear weapons programme and renew ties with the West.

"I came to the UK and I have respect for the people here," Kussa said on Monday. "The people have historic relations with Libyan people and we look to them as friendly people.

"I personally have good relations with so many Britons, we worked together against terrorism."

In Libya on Tuesday, the African Union urged rebels to "fully cooperate" after they rejected its ceasefire plan.

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi accepted the AU's plan but the rebels' leadership in the opposition-held city of Benghazi argued the initiative was obsolete and insisted Kadhafi should be ousted.

© 2011 AFP

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