April 4, 2011 / 3:39 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Libya contact group to meet in Doha next week-UK

3 Min Read

* Libya contact group to meet in Qatari capital next week

* UK supplying telecoms equipment to rebels, not arms

* Sanctions on defectors could be lifted, no immunity-Hague

(Adds African Union, sanctions angles)

By Keith Weir

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - An international contact group set up to coordinate the political response to the Libyan crisis will meet in the Qatari capital of Doha next week, Britain said on Monday.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also told parliament that Britain would supply telecoms equipment to rebels fighting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, but not arm them.

Hague added that any defectors from Gaddafi's government would not be offered immunity from prosecution, but could have EU and United Nations sanctions against them lifted.

Former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa fled to London last week and Scottish police want to question him over the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing.

The contact group was established last week at a conference on Libya in London. The small Arab nation of Qatar has played a prominent role in international efforts to protect civilians from forces loyal to Gaddafi under a U.N. resolution.

Hague, who will co-chair the Doha meeting, said he has asked the African Union (AU) to attend as Western powers seek to maintain as broad an alliance as possible as they press Gaddafi to step aside.

The AU was absent from the London conference. Hague met AU Secretary-General Jean Ping in London earlier on Monday.

Legal Position

Hague said he would encourage former Libyan spy chief Koussa to cooperate with legal authorities investigating Lockerbie and other alleged Libyan-sponsored attacks.

Families of some of the 270 people who died when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over the southern Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 have demanded that Koussa should be handed over to Scottish investigators immediately.

Relatives of 170 people killed in a 1989 airliner bombing in Niger also want Koussa to face questioning.

British foreign office officials were due to meet Scottish police on Monday to arrange an interview with Koussa over Lockerbie.

Hague said that there was no legal block on Koussa leaving Britain but he had shown no intention of moving on. Koussa has been closeted with foreign office officials at an undisclosed location for debriefing. "He is not detained, he is not under arrest so as things stand he is free to go where he wishes. I'm not aware of him trying to leave the country," Hague said. (editing by David Stamp)

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