Koussa says Libya could become "new Somalia": BBC

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 11, 2011 8:17 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - The most prominent Libyan defector said on Monday his country could become "a new Somalia" unless all sides involved in the conflict stopped it from descending into civil war.

"The unity of Libya is essential to any solution and settlement in Libya," former foreign minister Moussa Koussa Koussa said in a prepared statement to the BBC, which broadcast his comments with an English translation.

"I ask everybody, all the parties to work to avoid taking Libya into a civil war," Koussa said. "This will lead to bloodshed and make Libya a new Somalia."

Koussa, speaking publicly for the first time since defecting to Britain last month, said he was no longer in contact with the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan Social Affairs Minister Ibrahim Zarouk al-Sharif told reporters in Tripoli he would not comment on the interview.

"I will not comment on anything he says while he is captured and (being held) hostage in a hostile country."

"How do you know he went there (to Britain)? Maybe he was kidnapped."

Scottish police interviewed Koussa last week over the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, hoping he would provide intelligence over the attack.

A former spy chief, Koussa was a close adviser to Gaddafi since the 1970s and is believed to have played a key role in the release of the only person convicted for the bombing.

He told the BBC he decided to resign "when the Libyans started to lose security and stability."

Koussa is the highest profile of a number of Libyan ministers and ambassadors who have resigned, some of them joining the opposition to Gaddafi.

"The solution in Libya will come from the Libyans themselves, through discussion and democratic dialogue," he said.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris in London and Maria Golovnina in Tripoli; editing by Michael Roddy)