Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 31, 2011

Newsline: Diplomats desert Libya’s Gaddafi

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said the defection of Libya’s former Foreign Secretary Moussa Koussa to Britain would encourage others close to Muammar Gaddafi to abandon the Libyan leader.

Several Libyan diplomats and politicians have resigned or voiced opposition to the crackdown on anti-government protesters. Here are some of the major defections:

AUSTRALIA: The embassy in the capital, Canberra, cut ties on Feb. 22.

BANGLADESH: Ahmed A.H. Elimam, Libya’s ambassador in Dhaka, has resigned, Bangladeshi media said on Feb. 22.

CHINA: A senior Libyan diplomat in Beijing, Hussein Sadiq al-Musrati, resigned on Feb. 21 during an interview with al Jazeera.

FRANCE: Tripoli’s ambassador to France, Mohamed Salaheddine Zarem, and its ambassador to UNESCO, Abdoulsalam El Qallali, resigned on Feb. 25, a Libyan official said.

INDIA: The entire staff of Libya’s embassy in New Delhi renounced ties with Gaddafi’s government on Feb. 25, al Jazeera reported. The ambassador, Ali al-Essawi, had already resigned.

INDONESIA: Salaheddin El Bishari, ambassador in Indonesia, resigned on Feb. 22, media reports said.

JORDAN: Mohammed al-Barghathi, ambassador to Jordan said on Feb. 24 he had left his post.

LIBYA: On March 30, Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa defected and flew to Britain.

— On March 31 a former foreign minister whom Gaddafi had appointed U.N. ambassador, Ali Abdussalm Treki, refused to take up any official position and condemned the “spilling of blood.”

SWEDEN: Magid Buzrigh, ambassador in Stockholm, switched sides to oppose Gaddafi last month.

UNITED NATIONS: Deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi and most other diplomats at Libya’s U.N. mission announced on Feb. 21 they were no longer working for the Gaddafi government and represented the country’s people.

On Feb. 25, U.N. ambassador Abdurrahman Shalgham, a former foreign minister who did not associate himself with a statement denouncing Gaddafi earlier, joined Dabbashi in condemning him in an impassioned speech to the U.N.

Adel Shaltut, a diplomat at Libya’s delegation to the U.N. in Geneva, said entire delegation now represented the “free will” of the Libyan people.

UNITED STATES: Libya’s ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali, said on Feb. 22 he no longer represented his country’s government.



Newsline: Shamed Diplomat To Gaddafi Defector

Musa Kusa, Libya’s foreign minister and the shamed ex-ambassador to the UK, is back in Britain after defecting – but his arrival presents the UK government with huge diplomatic and political challenges. His departure from Britain in 1980 was heralded by cheers in the House of Commons – following a newspaper interview in The Times which he said he “approved” of the killing of two political opponents. So Mr Kusa’s return must be treated with care by the government, not least because Mr Kusa could have high-profile blood on his hands. A close confidant of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for 30 years, he was the man named by intelligence sources as the mastermind behind the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Britain’s worst terrorist atrocity. The 61-year-old was also instrumental in securing the deeply controversial release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi in August 2009. On his first al Megrahi-related visit to meet British and Scottish government officials in October 2008, he was listed only as an interpreter. By the second visit in January 2009, he was named as minister of security, and by a third visit in March 2009 he was listed as foreign minister. Educated at Michigan State University, Mr Kusa graduated with a degree in sociology in 1978. His early career saw him working as a security specialist for Libyan embassies in Europe, before being appointed as Libya’s ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1980. Mr Kusa’s diplomatic career was short-lived, however, coming to an abrupt end.