Libya’s Moussa Koussa arrives in Qatar

Laura Rozen

Libya's highest-profile defector Moussa Koussa has arrived in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar ahead of a meeting of the Libyan contact group Wednesday.

Before leaving the UK, to which the former Libyan foreign minister and long-time intelligence chief defected last month, Koussa told the BBC he was concerned the situation in Libya was devolving into a Somalia-style civil war.

"The solution...will come from the Libyans themselves through discussion and democratic dialogue," Koussa told the BBC, urging the parties to avoid a protracted conflict.

Koussa is due to meet with Libyan opposition representatives in Qatar, which is hosting Wednesday's meeting of the international contact group on Libya.

The Financial Times reported that UK officials saw the trip as an opportunity for Koussa to deepen his ties with the Libyan rebel opposition umbrella group, the transitional or interim National Council, which is based in the eastern Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

"The more representative of Libya that the [interim national council] are, the more broadly aligned they are, the less regional they are, the better that is for them," a British official told the paper. "There is therefore merit in them extending their base to get together with Moussa Koussa. But the INC will do so on their terms and we are not setting the agenda for them."

But Libyan opposition figures in the West expressed concern to a former U.S. government official as to whether Qatar, or Koussa are trying to broker a deal that could make way for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to remain in power, the former official told the Envoy.

Qatar, the first Arab country to join the international military alliance imposing the no-fly-zone over Libya,  has recently worked out a deal to sell Libyan oil on world markets and then use the money to make purchases for the Libyan rebels.

The Libyan opposition would like to control the funds from the oil sales to buy arms for themselves, the former U.S. official said.

He also said the Libyan opposition is currently purchasing some arms from the Egyptian military, under the table.

(Libya's Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa  speaks to the media at a hotel in Tripoli, Libya in this March 7, 2011 file photo. Koussa flew to the UK on March 30th, and the British foreign office announced that he had resigned his position as foreign minister. On April 12th, Koussa flew to Doha, Qatar ahead of a meeting of the international conflict group on Libya. Ben Curtis, file/ AP Photo.)