The Libyan government has finally admitted that Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa is currently in London.
After days of speculation that one of Colonel Gaddafi's chief aides had defected, the Libyan Minister of Information Moussa Ibrahim did, however, clarify the reasons for the high level official's appearance in London :
"Foreign Minister Koussa has been a valued and effective member of the national government since 1980.
At the age of 62, however, he has decided to accept the generous early retirement package available to all Libyan ministers over the age of 60.
He will enjoy his first few days of retirement by indulging his love of musical theatre and will be attending a performance of 'Billy Elliot' in London's West End".
Ibrahim denied any suggestion that Koussa had sought diplomatic immunity in return for providing the British Secret Service with information on Libyan military positions, the Lockerbie bombing or the shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher.
"Reports that Minister Koussa is involved in any kind of negotiations with the UK government is quite laughable.
He is taking a well earned rest and we wish him all the best in his retirement. He will be guaranteed a warm welcome in his homeland when he returns".
The Information Minister finished with the observation :
"We understand that Minister Koussa will be going to the United States when he has finished his vacation in the UK. Once again I must reiterate that this will be part of his vacation as he wants to take in the 'Jersey Boys' in Washington, DC".