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Mr. Dabbashi said he and Mr. Shalgham also talk regularly with U.N. envoys from many other countries who “continue to deal with us as we are representing Libya.” Mr. Shalgham was traveling when Mr. Dabbashi agreed to speak with the AP, and was not immediately available after his return.

“Our main objective for the moment is to get humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people and to guarantee recognition from as many countries as possible” for the opposition government, Mr. Dabbashi said.

The Libyans’ decision to defect but continue working for change in their country has earned them the respect and admiration of many in the U.N. diplomatic corps.

“They were among the earliest to defect, and in doing so have inspired others to leave a crumbling and now morally bankrupt regime whose activities are under investigation by the International Criminal Court,” Britain’s Mr. Lyall Grant said.

“They have continued to work in a highly professional manner here as valued colleagues who can provide vital and unique insights into the workings of the Gadhafi regime.”

Their activities include working with Western countries to liberate money frozen by recent sanctions against Col. Gadhafi so it can be used to fund the opposition and continue government scholarships for 3,000 Libyan graduate students in the U.S. and Canada.

All diplomats at the mission had their credentials pulled at Col. Gadhafi’s request, but Mr. Shalgham and Mr. Dabbashi still have courtesy passes allowing unlimited access to U.N. headquarters, said Farhan Haq, the secretary-general’s deputy spokesman.

So far, Col. Gadhafi has had no success in replacing Mr. Shalgham and Mr. Dabbashi with diplomats loyal to him.

His first choice, Ali Abdessalam Treki, a former U.N. General Assembly president, defected in late March and now lives in Cairo, where he is not involved with his country’s opposition, according to Mr. Dabbashi.

Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, the man who requested Mr. Treki’s appointment and a longtime Gadhafi confidant, also has defected.

Mr. Dabbashi said Mr. Kusa lives in Qatar’s capital, Doha, and is giving the opposition information about “Gadhafi’s instructions to military commanders and other high officials.”

The Gadhafi government’s efforts to appoint Nicaraguan diplomat Miguel D’Escoto Brockman to represent its interests before the world body fell flat after U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice noted he lacked the proper visa for diplomatic representation.

For decades, a revolt against Col. Gadhafi had seemed impossible, Mr. Dabbashi said. “He had built a wall of fear.”

But after popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt bubbled up earlier this year, Mr. Dabbashi said he told fellow Arab diplomats “it may happen in Libya, but the price will be high.”

Although the demonstrations in Libya began peacefully, the opposition took up arms when chants for change were answered with government gunfire. The Libyan diplomat said more than 10,000 people on all sides have since died.

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