Libya govt suggests army defections unimportant

May 31, 2011 22:16

TRIPOLI - The Libyan government dismissed the defection of several army generals as insignificant on Tuesday, saying there were many more who remained loyal and active in the fight against rebel forces.

Eight Libyan army officers including five generals appeared at an Italian government-arranged news conference in Rome on Monday, saying they were part of a group of 120 military officials and soldiers who had defected from Muammar Gaddafi in recent days.

The defections came two months after that of Libyan foreign minister and former espionage chief Moussa Koussa and the resignation of senior diplomat Ali Abdussalm Treki. "We are standing firm," government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told a news conference in the capital Tripoli.

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