British and Scottish officials plan to meet Monday with Libyan defector Moussa Koussa, the Gadhafi regime's former foreign minister, for a round of interrogations.


Former foreign minister Moussa Koussa was spirited out of Libya last week by British secret service. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press)

Scottish prosecutors are keen to question Koussa who, as a key member of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle, is believed to have vital information on the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. The attack killed 270 people.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague defended the move to grant Koussa asylum in the United Kingdom, reasoning that it was "right" to give the controversial minister refuge.

"I think that when someone like that says they want to get out, it would be quite wrong to say, 'No, you have got to stay there,'" Hague told the BBC, adding that he has already requested that Koussa speak with officials from the British Foreign Office.

Hague also assured that Koussa would not be given immunity from prosecution, and denied that any "deal" had been struck in exchange for information, contrary to newspaper reports.

"No. There is no deal, let me be reassuring to people in that," he said.

"The prime minister and I have made clear there is no immunity from prosecution. There will be no immunity. He has not asked for that. There is not a deal," he said.

Koussa, who has been referred to as Libya's "torturer in chief," was spirited out of the North African country last week by Britain's secret service and flown on a private jet to a British air base.

Defection seen as a coup

The defection of Libya's spy chief is considered a small coup that could signify the weakening of Gadhafi's regime, Hague said.

"That is a good thing that he has left this despotic, murderous regime because it weakens that regime. It's a good thing we are able to discuss with him the situation in Libya and the Middle East with, of course, all his experience of it," he added.  

Libya acknowledged last week that Koussa had resigned, but denied that his departure had any implications on the government losing the battle with rebels demanding Gadhafi's ouster. Instead, the regime claimed Koussa stepped down due to health problems.

In another development, a Gadhafi envoy told Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens on Sunday that the embattled Libyan leader was seeking a way out of his country's crisis,.

"From the Libyan envoy's comments it appears that the regime is seeking a solution," Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in a statement after the meeting.

The Greek foreign minister said his government stressed to Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi, a former Libyan prime minister, that the international community's call for Libya to comply with the UN resolution that authorized the airstrikes and demanded Gadhafi and the rebels end hostilities.

The message, Droutsas said, was: "Full respect and implementation of the United Nations decisions, an immediate cease-fire, an end to violence and hostilities, particularly against the civilian population of Libya."

Gadhafi's government has declared several ceasefires but has not abided by them.

Few other details of the Athens talks were released publicly.

With files from The Associated Press