Shokri Ghanem, the chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corporation, has left the country for Tunisia, in what is being called by the Libyan rebels and the British foreign office a defection.
Two days ago, Libyan officials were denying the story, but Moussa Ibrahim, Libyan government spokesperson, has said he had not managed to contact Mr Ghanem on the phone since Monday night, when speculation about his defection had already begun.
Mr Ibrahim added that, even if Mr Ghanem had defected, it would not be a “big deal” and would be “his decision”. He added that high-ranking regime officials had defected before. “We are not relying on any one individual,” he said.