Libyan oil chief defects in Rome

LIBYA'S top oil official Shokri Ghanem appeared in Rome yesterday, saying he had defected in protest against bloodshed in Libya and to help build its democracy.

A tired looking Mr Ghanem, whose whereabouts had been unknown for days, made a brief statement that he had left his position as National Oil Corp head because of the "unbearable" violence in Libya.

He is one of the most senior Libyan officials to have defected. He said he left Tripoli two weeks ago and had not seen Colonel Muammar Gaddafi "for months".