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April 20th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

Italy, France sending troops to advise Libyan rebels

CNN Wire Staff

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - France and Italy announced Wednesday that they will send military officers to Libya to advise rebels fighting for the ouster of leader Moammar Gadhafi and his regime.

Following a similar announcement by the British government Tuesday, French government spokesman Francois Baroin said a "small number" of French troops was being sent to advise the rebels' Transitional National Council.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet has ruled out sending ground troops to fight alongside the rebels. "This is a real issue that deserves an international debate," he said, adding, "We are working within the framework of the 1973 resolution," a reference to the U.N. resolution that authorized action in Libya. "You cannot please everyone all the time," he said.

Italy will send military advisers to train the rebels in self-defense tactics, Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maurizio Massari announced.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama was pleased with the coalition decisions.

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