April 3, 2011 / 2:32 PM / 9 years ago

Libya official in Athens to convey Gaddafi message

ATHENS (Reuters) - Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi flew to Greece Sunday to deliver a message from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to the Greek prime minister, a senior government official told Reuters.

His trip came after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had a phone conversation with Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmudi Saturday on developments in Libya.

“They (Libyan government) requested to send an envoy with a message for Prime Minister George Papandreou and that is why he is in Athens,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

It was not clear what the message was about, the official said. Obeidi was expected to meet Papandreou late Sunday, the prime minister’s office said.

Along with Gaddafi, Papandreou spoke with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al Thani Saturday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan Sunday, and UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron Friday.

Earlier Sunday, a security source at Tunisia’s Djerba airport told Reuters that Obeidi crossed from Libya into neighboring Tunisia and from there flew to Athens.

Tunisia’s official TAP news agency also reported that Obeidi crossed overland into Tunisia and was heading to Djerba airport, near the border, adding that he was not on an official visit to Tunisia and had not been in contact with Tunisian officials.

Last week Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa crossed into Tunisia then flew from Djerba airport to Britain. The British government said he had defected.

In Tripoli, Libyan officials were not immediately available to comment on Obeidi’s movements.

Obeidi served as prime minister under Gaddafi in the late 1970s, and later was head of the General People’s Congress, or parliament. His current post is minister of state for European affairs.

Greece has said it will not send any warplanes or take part in air strikes against Libyan targets but the NATO-member country has made available to European and U.S. forces the Souda military base on the island of Crete and three other air bases.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Tarek Amara; Editing by David Cowell

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