Kussa warns Libya could be 'new Somalia': BBC

12th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libya's former foreign minister Mussa Kussa, who is in Britain after defecting from Moamer Kadhafi's regime, said Monday the restive nation could become a "new Somalia" if civil war broke out.

"I ask everyone, all the parties, to avoid taking Libya into a civil war," the former minister said in a statement issued to the BBC.

"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.

Libyan rebels on Monday rejected an African Union initiative for a truce accepted by Kadhafi, and said the only solution was the strongman's ouster, an idea his son called "ridiculous."

Researchers from human rights group Amnesty International claimed Monday they had seen bodies of opposition fighters who had been shot in the back of the head after being bound up.

"The solution in Libya will come from the Libyans themselves through democratic dialogue," Kussa argued.

Kussa arrived in Britain unexpectedly on March 30 and immediately quit his post as foreign minister.

"My country lives in a difficult time, it's the worst," the former intelligence chief, who was widely seen as Kadhafi's right-hand man, said.

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

"I worked to serve the Kadhafi regime for more than 30 years. I was devoted to my work... but after the latest events things have changed and I couldn't continue.

"I knew what I did will bring me problems but I am ready to sacrifice for the sake of my country," he added.

Scottish officials investigating the Lockerbie plane bombing interviewed Kussa last week to establish the extent of his knowledge of the 1988 incident.

Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi is the only man convicted over the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988, which killed 270 people.

"I came to the UK and I have respect for the people here," Kussa said in Monday's statement. "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."

As head of Libyan intelligence for 15 years before his appointment as foreign minister in March 2009, Kussa is credited with convincing Kadhafi to dismantle his nuclear weapons programme and renew ties with the West.

Earlier Monday, Foreign Secretary William Hague repeated British demands after a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in London.

"There has been no change to the conditions that the Kadhafi regime must meet since they were set out by US President (Barack) Obama and by our prime minister and others," Hague said.

"That means an end to all attacks and abuses against civilians. That means a genuine and real ceasefire, the withdrawal of regime forces from cities and the full flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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