Libya sends envoy to UK for talks

Muamar Gaddafi

Libya has sent a senior aide of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son to London for talks with British officials, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Citing unidentified government sources, the newspaper said Mohammed Ismail, an aide to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, visited London in recent days in what it said was one of many contacts between Libya and the West in the past two weeks.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying: “We are not going to provide a running commentary on our contact with Libyan officials.”

She added: “In any contact that we do have, we make it clear that Gaddafi has to go.”

On Wednesday, Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, one of Col Gaddafi’s closet advisers, defected and flew by charted executive jet from Tunisia to London.

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said Mr Kusa had been given permission to leave the country on the grounds of ill health.

“He asked for sick leave because he had diabetes and high blood pressure,” he said.

“We understand now he has resigned from his position.

“He is an old man. He has serious health problems – his heart, his body, could not take the pressure and we hope that he will recover mentally, psychologically and physically and rest.”

But more senior Libyans are expected to follow the foreign minister and defect “within days”, the country’s mission to the UN told Sky News.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier confirmed that she was aware that people close to Col Gaddafi had been trying to make contact with Western governments.

British intelligence officials are thought to be talking to up 12 senior figures in the Libyan regime about deserting the embattled Libyan dictator.

Rebel spokesman Mustafa Gheriani said he believed the regime was “crumbling from within”.

“An injured wolf is much more dangerous than a healthy wolf. But we hope the defections continue and I think he’ll find himself with no one around him,” he said.

Gaddafi himself accused the countries carrying out airstrikes of being affected by “power madness”, according to a state TV.

“The solution for this problem is that they resign immediately and their peoples find alternatives to them,” he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the Government is under growing pressure to hold Mr Kusa to account for the Lockerbie bombing and the murder of Pc Yvonne Fletcher.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond backed calls for Mr Kusa to be questioned over the Lockerbie disaster, saying he expected he may have useful information for the probe.

Pc Fletcher was gunned down in London in 1984, from a weapon fired from within the Libyan embassy during a protest.

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief has not been offered immunity and that police and prosecutors would not be obstructed.

But ministers face the dilemma that arresting and charging him may discourage further defections from Gaddafi’s regime.

Scottish prosecutors have asked to interview Mr Kusa, who resigned as Libya’s foreign minister this week, about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

He is currently at an undisclosed “safe location” in the UK being debriefed by diplomats and intelligence officials.
Source: Sky News

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