[This is the headline over a report published today on the Middle East Online website. It reads in part:]
Libya's Moamer Gathafi suffered another blow Wednesday when his foreign minister flew into Britain telling officials he no longer wanted to represent the Tripoli regime.
Mussa Kussa arrived at Farnborough Airfield, west of London, on Wednesday, a Foreign Office statement said.
"He travelled here under his own free will. He has told us that he is resigning his post," it added.
"Mussa Kussa is one of the most senior figures in Gathafi's government and his role was to represent the regime internationally, something that he is no longer willing to do," the British statement continued.
"We encourage those around Gathafi to abandon him and embrace a better future for Libya that allows political transition and real reform that meets the aspirations of the Libyan people," it concluded. (...)
Washington quickly hailed Kussa's departure as a major blow to the Gathafi regime.
"This is a very significant defection and an indication that people around Gathafi think the writing's on the wall," a senior official in the US administration said.
Kussa is credited as having been a key figure in Libya's efforts to improve its international reputation before to the current crisis.
The 59-year-old was installed as Gathafi's foreign minister in March 2009 after having served as the head of Libya's intelligence agency from 1994.
One of Gathafi's trusted advisers, Kussa is believed to have convinced the leader to dismantle his nuclear weapons programme, opening the way for the lifting of US trade sanctions.
Earlier in his career, in 1980, Kussa served as ambassador to Britain, but was expelled after saying he wanted to eliminate the "enemies" of the Libyan regime in Britain.
[A profile of Moussa Koussa in today's edition of the Daily Telegraph contains the following:]
The former spy chief's resignation also comes at a critical time in the coalition's attempts to dislodge Col Gaddafi, as the rebels are retreating under fresh onslaughts and Whitehall sources suggested they were unlikely to win without arms or training from outside.
So his information and contacts among Col Gaddafi's generals will be all the more valuable.
However, the former head of Libya's external intelligence, was the mastermind accused of planning the Lockerbie bombing and any attempts to rehabilitate him are likely to be an exceedingly hot potato.
Mr Koussa has been a close confidant of Col Gaddafi's for 30 years and helped secure the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.
He was expelled from London in 1980 after giving an extraordinary newspaper interview when he was the head of the embassy in which he said two Libyan dissidents living in London would be killed.
Speaking outside the Libyan embassy in St James’s Square, Mr Koussa told The Times: “The revolutionary committees have decided last night to kill two more people in the United Kingdom. I approve of this."
He returned to Libya after being given 48 hours to leave the UK, where he was accused of funding terrorist groups.
Mr Koussa was named by intelligence sources in the mid-1990s as the possible architect of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people, and the blowing up the following year of a French airliner in central Africa in which 170 people died.
Mr Koussa, who is now 61, travelled to Britain to meet British and Scottish government officials on at least two occasions as Mr Megrahi’s health deteriorated.
[A report in today's edition of The Guardian contains the following:]
Britain and the US have been in regular contact with him in recent days, mainly through intelligence sources. Probably more than any other senior official inside the Libyan regime, Kousa is seen as the key figure who persuaded Gaddafi to make a deal with British intelligence agencies to stop developing weapons of mass destruction in return for the ending of its pariah status.
However, his relationship with Britain in the past has been far from convivial. Kousa has previously been seen as one of the controlling forces behind the Lockerbie bombing and it was not clear whether he was seeking political asylum.
In 1980, he was expelled from the UK and, for 15 years, he was head of Libyan foreign intelligence – including in the period of the Lockerbie bombing. He has always denied Libya was involved in the bombing.
[Of the various officials of the Gaddafi regime that I met between 1993 and 2009, Moussa Koussa was the most frightening. It was he who, in January 1994, signed on behalf of the Libyan regime the letter confirming that they approved of the scheme that I had submitted to Megrahi and Fhimah's lawyers and to the Libyan Government regarding a non-jury trial in the Netherlands.]