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“He says he is resigning,” Mr. El-Gamaty said. “That means he is defecting. He has been Gadhafi’s right-hand man for years, running intelligence, running the Lockerbie bomber negotiations, running many things.”

Mr. El-Gamaty said he does not think Mr. Koussa is likely to remain in Britain but probably would end up in another country in an effort to avoid possible prosecution.

He said that Mr. Koussa would not be welcomed into the opposition movement because of his prior actions on behalf of the Gadhafi government.

David Stringer in London and Katarina Kratovac and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this story.