Thursday, 31 March 2011

Libya's Foreign Minister Musa Kusa defects

Libya's Foreign Minister and one of Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi's closest allies Musa Kusa has defected, saying he was “no longer willing" to serve the regime. Experts say this might prove to be a momentous turning point for Libya, with further defections to come.

Kusa flew into Britain last night, a move that was supported by Whitehall. A foreign office spokesman said: “We encourage those around Qadhafi to abandon him and embrace a better future for Libya that allows political transition and real reform that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people.”

The spokesman added that in view of the events in Libya, Kusa felt he could no longer “represent the regime internationally” or stand-by Qadhafi's actions.

Kusa arrived from Tunisia where he was said to be on a diplomatic mission. His defection has given hope that the regime may splinter internally thereby weakening Qadhafi's hold on the country. A close confidant of the Leader for over 30 years, and head of Libya's spy agency, Kusa was said to be responsible for masterminding the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, and later for the negotiations in releasing the bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al–Megrahi.

Speaking about the situation in Libya yesterday [30th March], Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron said he was not “ruling out” arming the rebels despite having previously indicated that this may not be possible under the terms of sanctions imposed on Libya. The Prime Minister noted: "It is an extremely fluid situation but there is no doubt in anyone's mind the ceasefire is still being breached and it is absolutely right for us to keep up our pressure under UN Security Council 1973. As I've told the House, the legal position is clear that the arms embargo applies to the whole territory of Libya.”

Sources: BBC News, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

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