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Libya conflict: Gaddafi's close ally Mousa Kousa defects: - by Peter Beaumont

It was not so long ago that Mousa Kousa, Libya's foreign minister, was being wheeled out to defend Muammar Gaddafi's regime to foreign journalists at Tripoli's luxurious Rixos hotel. A small and tidy man, aged 64, he would appear – usually tieless in his pale grey suit – and read haltingly from a scripted statement.

His message then echoed word for word, idea for idea, that of all of the other loyalists in Gaddafi's regime. He blamed a coalition of al-Qaida and western colonial interests intent on dividing Libya to steal its oil. He accused the foreign media of being part of that plot.

Challenged on one such occasion by journalists, he angrily stormed out. Now the country's long time foreign intelligence chief, who became its foreign minister in 2009, has become the most senior of Gaddafi's allies to defect, after fleeing through Tunisia.

For more: Libya conflict: Gaddafi's close ally Mousa Kousa defects | World news | The Guardian

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