News / Africa

Libya's Foreign Minister Resigns, Arrives in Britain

Libya's Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa (file photo)
Libya's Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa (file photo)

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa has arrived in Britain and has declared he is leaving Moammar Gadhafi's government.

The British foreign office said Wednesday that Koussa traveled from Tunisia to London under his own free will, telling officials he is resigning his post. British officials urged Mr. Gadhafi's other supporters to desert him as well.

A Libyan government spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, denied the foreign minister has defected, saying he is in Britain on a "diplomatic mission." Libya's justice and interior ministers resigned early in the conflict and joined the rebels fighting in the east.

U.S. officials called Koussa's resignation "very significant," and an example of growing splits inside the Libyan government. The foreign minister has been a close confidant of Mr. Gadhafi and served as his intelligence chief for more than a decade.

In Washington, the White House repeated that no decision has been made to provide arms to rebel forces in Libya. Wednesday's statement was issued amid reports that President Barack Obama has approved a secret authorization for covert efforts to support anti-government rebels.

The New York Times reported that the CIA has put an unknown number of operatives into Libya to gather intelligence and make contact with anti-Gadhafi forces. The newspaper said the CIA declined comment on the report, which quoted what it called current and former British officials as saying British special forces and intelligence officers also are in the North African nation.

Earlier Wednesday, troops loyal to Mr. Gadhafi drove anti-government rebels from key coastal cities they had seized days before, reversing opposition gains made since international airstrikes began.

Libyan rebels retreated amid intense fighting around the strategic oil towns of Ras Lanuf and Brega. Many opposition fighters fell back to the city of Ajdabiya, from where residents were seen fleeing along the road toward the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

Pro-Gadhafi forces were shelling Brega and a rebel military spokesman said he expected the loyalists to enter the city by Wednesday night.

The spokesman ((Colonel Ahmad Bani)) also said as many as 3,600 heavily armed members of the Chadian Republican Guard are now fighting alongside Gadhafi loyalists. He dismissed concerns that members of al-Qaida are fighting with the Libyan rebels.

On Tuesday, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis told a congressional hearing that groups such as al-Qaida and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia have a small presence among the Libyan opposition. He also said the opposition leadership appeared to be "responsible men and women" fighting the Libyan government.

A prominent U.S.-based rights group said Wednesday that Mr. Gadhafi's forces have laid land mines around Ajdabiya when the coastal city was under their control earlier this month. In a statement from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Human Rights Watch said a civil defense team found more than 50 anti-vehicle and anti-personnel mines in a heavily traveled area.

A U.S. military spokesman said coalition airplanes resumed bombing pro-Gadhafi troops Wednesday, although the timing and location of those strikes was not specified.

Western nations began enforcing a United Nations-authorized no-fly zone over Libya on March 19 to protect civilians from harm.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid