Moussa Koussa

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Moussa Muhammad Koussa
Moussa Koussa

Koussa at a press conference in March 2011


{{#if:4 March 2009 |

Koussa in September 2010

Moussa Muhammad Koussa (Arabic: موسى كوسا‎, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈmusaˌkosa][1]; born c. 1947)[2] is a Libyan political figure and diplomat, who served in the Libyan government as Minister of Foreign Affairs from March 2009, into the 2011 Libyan civil war, when he resigned his position from the Gaddafi regime on 30 March 2011.[3]

Koussa previously headed the Libyan intelligence agency from 1994 to 2009, and was considered one of the country's most powerful figures.[4] He arrived in, and remains in the custody of, the United Kingdom on 30 March 2011. Later the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office released an official statement saying that Koussa no longer wished to represent the Libyan government[5] and intended to resign.[3] He was a member of Gaddafi's inner circle. [6]



He attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, earning a bachelor's in sociology in 1978.[5][7]

Diplomat and intelligence chief

Koussa worked as a security specialist for Libyan embassies in Europe before being appointed as Libya's Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1980. He was expelled from the United Kingdom in 1980, after stating in an interview with The Times newspaper that his government intended to eliminate two political opponents of the Libyan government, who were living in the UK.[8]

Later he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1994 and as the head of the Libyan intelligence agency from 1994 to 2009.[4] He was a key figure in the normalization of relations between Libya and many NATO nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Koussa was key in securing the release of Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. In October 2008, he met both British and Scottish government officials, listed as an interpreter. In a second visit in January 2009, he was listed as Minister of Security.[8]

Foreign minister

On 4 March 2009, Koussa was designated as Minister of Foreign Affairs, replacing Abdel Rahman Shalgham, in a ministerial reshuffle announced by the Libyan parliament.[4][8]

In April 2009, he presided over the 28th council meeting of the Arab Maghreb Union (comprising Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia) in the Libyan capital Tripoli.[9]

In an interview published by Asharq Al-Awsat on 10 November 2009, Koussa criticized some aspects of Chinese investment in Africa. Koussa said, "I do not consider what I said to be a campaign against the Chinese; on the contrary we have a positive opinion of the Chinese", but despite the fact that "China has aided us and the liberation movements [in Africa]", it was unacceptable for the Chinese to bring "thousands of Chinese workers to Africa" when Africans themselves needed jobs, and he spoke of "a Chinese invasion of the African continent" that he said "brings to mind the effects that colonialism had on the African continent". He called on China to rather "train the African workforce" instead. Koussa also criticized China's unwillingness to deal with the African Union and its preference for dealing with individual African states, which he said was suggestive of a divide and rule policy. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of political cooperation in addition to economic cooperation, saying that the former was lacking in China's relationship with Africa. He said that China only dealt in business, and never engaged in political support, in order to please all sides in a dispute. He suggested that China engage the Arab/African/Islamic world with political support, rather than just keeping relations "limited to building roads and schools".[10]

Koussa was described as "hands shaking" as he announced a ceasefire weeks into the 2011 uprising, after the UN Security Council had opened the way to a no-fly zone. Western "officials indicated that they were prepared to move quickly if a decision was made to take military action. France and the UK and then the United States responded [to the ceasefire announcement] with almost identically worded skepticism ...." Attacks by government troops on Benghazi were also being reported – and denied – at the time, some hours after the announced ceasefire.[11]

On 29 March 2011, Koussa wrote to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, nominating the former foreign minister of Nicaragua’s socialist Sandinista government and one-time president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, as Libya’s new ambassador to the UN. The letter stated that Brockmann was nominated, as Ali Treki, also a former General Assembly president who was their first choice, was denied a visa to enter the United States under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.[12]

Departure and resignation

After departing Tripoli by car and arriving in Tunis, Tunisia, on 28 March 2011, via the Ras Ejder border crossing, a Tunisian Government spokesman stated via Tunis Afrique Presse that Koussa had arrived on a "private visit."[13] On 30 March 2011, he departed from Djerba on a Swiss-registered private jet,[14] arriving at Farnborough Airfield, England, according to Libyan sources on a diplomatic mission.[15] The Foreign and Commonwealth Office later released an official press statement, stating that Koussa no longer wished to represent the Libyan government and intended to resign,[3][5][7][16] unhappy with Libyan Army attacks on civilians.[17]

Scottish prosecutors are seeking to interview Koussa about the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people. At the time, Koussa was a leading member of the Libyan Bureau for External Security (the Mathaba) which was suspected to be responsible.[18]

See also


  1. Mussa Ibrahim, "Libyan government reacts to Moussa Koussa's defection- video- Gaddafi spokesman Mussa Ibrahim plays down foreign minister's decision, claiming that he was a 'very ill person' who had taken time off to rest",, 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-03-31. Listen at precisely 0m37s into the video. He has used this same pronunciation, [ˈmusaˌkosa], in an aired press conference on the same day; no other pronunciation used.
  2. [1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Staff writer (4 March 2009). "Libyan Spy Chief Named FM in Reshuffle". Agence France-Presse (via Google News). Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2
  7. 7.0 7.1
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2
  9. Turkia, Mahumd (19 April 2009) "Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa Atte". Agence France-Presse/Getty Images (via Getty Images). Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  10. Sawsan Abu-Husain in Sharm el-Sheikh (10/11/2009), "Q & A with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa (", Asharq Al-Awsat, <>. Retrieved on Template:Date
  11. Template:Registration required Bumiller, Elisabeth; Kikpatrick, David D. (18 March 2011; 19 March 2011, p. A1, New York edition). "Obama Warns Libya, but Attacks Go On". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  12. Varner, Bill; Schmidt, Blake (29 March 2011). Former Nicaragua Sandinista Leader Named Libya’s UN Envoy. Reuters. Retrieved on 30 March 2011.
  13. Staff writer (28 March 2011). Libyan FM Visits Tunisia. Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved on 30 March 2011.
  14. Staff writer (31 March 2011). Why Is the Libyan Foreign Minister Flying to London?. International Business Times. Retrieved on 31 March 2011.
  15. Staff writer (30 March 2011). Libya Formin Has Not Defected – Govt Spokesman. Reuters. Retrieved on 30 March 2011.
  16. Staff writer (30 March 2011). Libyan Foreign Minister Defects – UK Foreign Ministry Says Moussa Koussa Has Arrived in the UK After Resigning from His Post. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on 30 March 2011.
  17. Staff writer (30 March 2011). Libya FM Defects from Government, Seeks Refuge in Britain – Moussa Koussa Quit To Protest Government Attacks on Civilians, Says Friend; Koussa Was Instrumental in Bring Libya Back to International Community after Years of Sanctions. Haaretz. Retrieved on 30 March 2011.
  18. "Koussa Lockerbie interview sought by prosecutors" (, 31 March 2011, <>. Retrieved on Template:Date

External links

Preceded by
Head of the Libyan Intelligence Agency
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Abdel Rahman Shalgham
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya
Succeeded by
Abdel Ati al-Obeidi
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