A senior aid of Colonel Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, has been sent to Britain for secret talks on an exit strategy for the Libyan leader and his family members, UK media revealed on Friday citing UK government sources familiar with the meeting.
Mohammed Islamil has been in London for several days and his visit was said to be one of a number of contacts the British government has made with several Libyan officials over the past two weeks.
Mr. Ismail, has kept a low profile inside and outside Libya, but is known to have led Libyan delegations in arms purchase negotiations, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks disclosed.
Report of Mr. Ismali’s visit to London came in the light of the defection to Britain of Libya’s foreign minister and former foreign intelligence head Mousa Koussa.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that Koussa was not offered any kind of deal in return for leaving the Libyan regime and that he was not granted immunity from prosecution.
The former UK ambassador to Libya and a team from the British intelligence service MI6 are reportedly debriefing Koussa at a safe location after he arrived at Farnborough airport, about 35 miles from London, on Wednesday night from Tunisia.
On Thursday, Scottish prosecuting authorities probing the Lockerbie bombing formally requested access to Mr. Koussa.
The Guardian newspaper quoted a Foreign Office spokesman as saying that Mr. Ismail was told that Gaddafi has to go and that those responsible for war crimes in Libya will be held accountable under international law.
But there is hardly anything new in this message as British, U.S. and French leaders have called on Gaddafi to leave power many times before.
The Foreign Office declined to elaborate on Mr. Ismail’s visit to London and on whether other contacts have been made with the Libyan regime on an exit strategy for Muammar Gaddafi and his family.
But according to a western diplomatic source quoted by the Guardian, Gaddafi sons, Saif al-Islam, Saadi and Mutassim were seeking a way out.
Gaddafi’s sons reportedly suggested in previous contacts with the West that Mutassim, currently Libya’s national security adviser, would become the president of an interim government that would include members of the opposition.
Both the Libyan opposition and the Western powers that insist on Gaddafi's departure, however, are unlikely to accept this proposition.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said in an interview to Al Arabiya TV reiterated the U.S. stance on Libya saying Gaddafi has go. She explained that the imposition of a no-fly-zone over Libya would not prevent him from leaving the country.
(Compiled by Mustapha Ajbaili)