Gadhafi Envoy Reportedly Held Talks in Britain

Published on Friday 1st April 2011

British media say an envoy of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has visited London for talks with British officials.The reports said the envoy was Mohammed Ismail, a senior aide to Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam.  A British Foreign Office spokesman told The Guardian newspaper that a clear message was delivered that Gadhafi "has to go."  The spokesman declined to comment further on contacts with Libyan officials.News of the visit comes as rebels in the North African nation celebrated the recent defection of two high-level envoys from Gadhafi's government. Opposition spokesman Mustafa Gheriani said Thursday that anti-government forces "believe the Gadhafi regime is beginning to crumble from within." He spoke in the eastern city of Benghazi, the rebel's de-facto capital.Ali Abdessalam Treki, a former foreign minister and U.N. General Assembly president, announced his departure Thursday on several opposition websites, and fled to Egypt. He said it is Libya's right "to live in freedom, democracy and prosperity."Treki's defection follows that of Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, who fled to Britain late Wednesday. Koussa was a long-standing confidante of Gadhafi and was described as one of the "pillars" of his government.Libya’s former deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, said more high-level Libyans could defect "within days." He said authorities have begun assigning guards to senior officials.Meanwhile, the Libyan strongman struck a defiant stance, saying he is not the one who should resign but rather Western leaders who have decimated his military with airstrikes. State television quoted Gadhafi as saying the leaders of allied countries are "affected by power madness."Troops loyal to Gadhafi continued to push back rebels from the oil town of Brega amid fierce fighting on Thursday. Opposition forces, emboldened by news of Koussa's defection, regrouped and fought to check the advance.Many civilians also have fled Ajdabiya, a rebel-held city about 80 kilometers to the east, fearing that government troops are on their way.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.



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