NATO says "cracks in Gaddafi regime are clearly visible"

09:20, June 01, 2011      

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Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya has shown visible cracks after eight senior Libyan military officers defected, a NATO spokesman said Tuesday.

"A number of pro-Gaddafi units have shown signs of waiving loyalty. And yesterday (Monday), a number of senior pro-Gaddafi officers defected," Mike Bracken told a press briefing via video conference from Naples, Italy.

Eight senior Libyan military officers, including five generals, announced their decision to defect in Rome Monday.

"The cracks in the Gaddafi regime are now clearly visible," Bracken said.

According to the defected Libyan military officers, pro-Gaddafi forces were now at only 20-percent capacity, NATO spokeswomen Oana Lungescu told the same press conference.

"It is a significant loss of the regime' senior leadership, and it doesn't come in surprise. Because NATO strikes have largely paralysed the command and control of the Gaddafi regime forces... they (senior military officers) are losing their faith in their leadership," she said.

The defections came as South African President Jacob Zuma was in Libya to try to broker a cease-fire. After his talks with Gaddafi, Zuma said that the Libyan leader is ready to carry out an African Union (AU) roadmap for solving the crisis.

Oana said that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is scheduled to meet with Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, on Tuesday afternoon.

"The African Union, of course, has a very important role to play in conflict resolution in Libya. And we welcome all efforts to find a political solution to the conflict," she said.

Source: Xinhua
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