White House: Libyan's exit a 'major defection'

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March 31, 2011, 10:08 p.m. |

Libyan government spokesman Dr. Ibrahim Musa, answers journalists' questions about the defection of Moussa Koussa, Libya's foreign minister during a press conference in Tripoli, Libya, Tripoli, Libya, Thursday March 31, 2011.
© AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House calls the resignation and departure of a top Libyan official a significant blow to the regime of Moammar Gadhafi and says it signals that his inner circle is "crumbling." Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa flew to England from Tunisia on Wednesday and the British government said he had resigned.

Gadhafi's government said Koussa had resigned but claimed that it was a personal decision driven by health problems.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday: "If there was ever a sign that the inner circle surrounding Moammar Gadhafi was crumbling, it was the defection of Moussa Koussa yesterday to the United Kingdom."

White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Koussa can help provide "critical intelligence about Gaddafi's current state of mind and military plans."
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