Libyan Foreign Minister flies to Greece on 'peace mission'

Families of the victims demand that highest-ranking defector from Gaddafi regime should not be granted immunity

Libya's acting foreign minister flew into Athens last night on a mission from Muammar Gaddafi which his Greek government hosts said meant the regime was now seeking an end to the fighting.

Disilllusioned with what he sees as the betrayal by France, Britian and Italy because of the NATO-led military intervention, the Libyan leader may see Greece—with which he has long enjoyed good relations—as a possible diplomatic conduit to the West.

After Abdelati Obeidi met Prime Minister George Papandreou, Mr Obeidi's Greek counterpart, Dimitri Droutsas, said last night: "It seems that the Libyan authorities are seeking a solution." Though there were few details of what, if anything, the regime is proposing, Mr Papandreou has been in touch with Western governments over the past few days. Mr Obeidi is expected to travel on to Malta and Turkey.

Meanwhile, Scottish officials have arrived in London to question Libya's former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, on what he knows about the Lockerbie bombing. The interview, which may take place today, comes as MPs and families of victims of the attack demand that Mr Koussa should not be granted immunity from prosecution, even if there have been attempts to encourage others in the Gaddafi regime to defect.

Despite reports that Mr Koussa is named in court documents as overseeing Libya's supply of Semtex explosive to the Provisional IRA, British officials will seek to delay any legal moves against him, arguing that the priority is to oust Colonel Gaddafi.

Fresh evidence came to light yesterday that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, one of the dictator's sons, was seeking to broker a deal by which he would take control of a transition to a constitutional democracy. A diplomat with close ties to the Libyan government was quoted in the New York Times citing "eminent people" in Tripoli as saying the proposal would involve Saif leading the country through the transition and his father leaving power. But the diplomat added the proposal appeared not to have found favour with either opposition leaders or Col Gaddafi, who has consistently depicted the unrest as the product of a conspiracy involving both Islamist extremists, including al-Qa'ida, and Western powers.

In a Commons statement today, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, will argue that the Government was right to allow Mr Koussa to enter Britain. Mr Hague said yesterday he had spoken to him briefly since his arrival but had not met him. Mr Koussa, who has not been seen in public since his arrival in Britain last Wednesday, may be asked to issue a public appeal to other allies to break with Col Gaddafi. British officials want to deploy him as they use everything at their disposal to put pressure on the Libyan dictator.

The Foreign Secretary insisted there had been "no deal" to grant Mr Koussa immunity. But the Foreign Office said there would be nothing to stop him applying for asylum in Britain. A Foreign Office spokesman also disclosed that a diplomatic team had arrived in Libya on Saturday to forge links with opposition forces.

Fighting continued in Libya yesterday, with warplanes flying over the strategic oil town of Brega and rebels battling with regime forces there. Black smoke rose further west and hundreds of cars carrying volunteer rebel fighters streamed away from the town. Meanwhile, a Turkish ship took 250 wounded from the besieged city of Misrata – which has been under repeated shelling by forces loyal to Col Gaddafi – but was forced to leave behind thousands of residents who are still trapped and pleading to be evacuated.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore