Moussa Koussa warns Libya could turn into 'new Somalia'

Former foreign minister who defected to UK urges two sides to avoid taking Libya into civil war and resolve conflict through dialogue

The former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa has used his first public comments since his defection to Britain to urge all sides in the conflict to stop his country turning into "a new Somalia".

"I ask everybody, all the parties, to avoid taking Libya into a civil war," he told the BBC in a prepared statement. "More than that, we refuse to divide Libya. The unity of Libya is essential to any solution and settlement for Libya."

Koussa, who flew to the UK on 30 March, has been staying at an undisclosed location. The BBC said the interview took place in a secret location in central London. Reading out a statement in Arabic, he said: "The solution in Libya will come from the Libyans themselves, and through discussion and democratic dialogue."

Koussa also spoke about his relationship with the UK, saying that Britons were the friends of Libya, both on an historical and personal level.

"We worked together against terrorism and we succeeded. We worked together to avoid terrorism and we worked together to dismantle weapons of mass destruction. It is a great job, it is great work and it makes the world safer," he said, in an apparent reference to matters including Libya's decision to relinquish its weapons of mass destruction programme in return for international diplomatic rehabilitation.

Seeking to explain his reasons for abandoning the Gaddafi regime after 30 years, much of which he spent as Libya's foreign intelligence chief, he said that he had been "devoted" to his work and was certain that it involved serving the Libyan people.

But he said that recent events had changed things."That's why I took this decision. Not because I'm waiting for anything, but because I know that what I did to resign will cause me problems, but I'm ready to make that sacrifice for the sake of my country." He said earlier: "My country lives in a difficult time. It's the worst. When the Libyans started to lose security and stability I decided to resign. I have no contact with the Libyan regime."

Police investigating the Lockerbie bombing interviewed Koussa last week after Scottish police made a request to the Foreign Office to meet him. He is believed to have been a senior intelligence officer at the time of the 1988 plane bombing. In 1980, Koussa was expelled from the UK. He has always denied Libya was involved in the bombing.


Ben Quinn

The GuardianTramp

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