Tokyo: Tunisian Foreign Minister Mouldi Kefi said on Monday he believed Libyan Oil Minister Shokri Ghanem was no longer working for the Gaddafi regime.
The whereabouts of Ghanem, a central figure in the government of Muammar Gaddafi, have been a mystery since Libyan rebels said last Tuesday that he had defected. The government in Tripoli has denied the rebels` claim and said last Thursday he was on an official trip to Tunisia, Europe and Egypt.
"I believe and I suspect Mr Ghanem just left Libya and that he is not any more working with the Gaddafi regime. Probably that`s why he came to Tunisia," Kefi, in Tokyo to meet Japanese government officials, told a news conference.
Kefi added that Ghanem was staying in a hotel on a small southern island of Tunisia but when asked whether Ghanem plans to travel to other countries, Kefi said: "Only God knows what is in Mr Ghanem`s mind."
As head of Libya`s NOC state energy firm and its delegate to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Ghanem is the country`s most important energy official. He is widely respected by people in the industry.