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Ex-Libyan foreign minister traveling to Doha

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LONDON >> Moussa Koussa, Libya’s former foreign minister, is traveling to the Gulf state of Qatar to share his insights on the workings of Moammar Gadhafi’s inner circle, British government officials said Tuesday.

Koussa has been asked to attend the conference on Libya being held in Doha, Qatar’s capital, as a valuable Gadhafi insider, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Koussa had been held at a safehouse since he fled to Britain late last month, but MI6 agents stopped questioning him last week, according to the official. Koussa had been staying in a safehouse until late Monday night, according to Noman Benotman, an ex-member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and relative of Koussa who has been in regular contact with the former foreign minister since he fled to Britain.

Although Koussa was provided with legal advice, Benotman said he believed he had “cleared most of the legal hurdles in the U.K.” surrounding his alleged involvement in the Lockerbie bombing and arming the IRA.

A second British official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Koussa’s former role might mean he could offer realistic ways of resolving the conflict in Libya.

“He’s a Gadhafi insider. He may be able to offer solutions where others are falling short,” the official said.

Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed the trip in a statement Tuesday, saying that Koussa was “traveling today to Doha to meet with the Qatari government and a range of other Libyan representatives.”

The statement added that Koussa was “a free individual, who can travel to and from the U.K. as he wishes.”

Britain’s Foreign Office said the contact group will include European powers, the U.S., allies from the Middle East and a number of international organizations. The group meets in Doha on Wednesday.  

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