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Libyan government 'seeking way out'

Muammar Gaddafi has sent a trusted adviser to Athens as the Libyan dictator hunts for a way out of his stand-off with the international community.

Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi has held talks with prime minister George Papandreou and is also expected to visit Turkey and Malta.

Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas said: "From the Libyan envoy's comments it appears that the regime is seeking a solution."

The diplomatic mission comes amid signs that those close to Gaddafi are becoming increasingly nervous about the long-term consequences of his defiance.

When al-Obeidi left the country there was initially speculation that he intended to follow the example of his former boss Musa Kusa, who defected to Britain last week. But it now seems the acting foreign minister was carrying a message from Gaddafi that he is willing to compromise.

One report suggested the dictator's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi wanted to take over and turn Libya into a democracy.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary William Hague defended the decision to allow Kusa into the UK, despite anger at the idea of granting him asylum.

Mr Hague admitted there were "issues" over how to handle the defector, but stressed that his decision to abandon Gaddafi had "weakened" the regime. He also signalled that police would be allowed to interview Kusa about Lockerbie and other historic crimes, saying: "We want more information about past events."

"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," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

"The Crown Office in Scotland want to talk to him about what has happened in the past, such as Lockerbie. My officials are discussing with the Crown Office tomorrow how to go about that. That is not a bad thing either. We want more information about past events."

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