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Defected pilots get warm welcome Tripoli

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Defected pilots get warm welcome Tripoli

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Two Libyan air force pilots made a joyful return to Tripoli.

They have been out of the country since February.

They say they were given orders to bomb anti-government protesters but, horrified, they chose to defect instead and flew to Malta.

Colonel Ali al-Rabiti said he wanted to continue as a pilot. “I want to train the next generation of pilots,” he added, “to protect Libya and its people.

The port of Tripoli has more or less returned to full operation, officials say.

It was a focal point in the conflict, but is now said to be completely stabilised and secure.

Vessels from Italy and Malta have arrived so far.

Officials say the key was the EU decision to lift sanctions.

The main imports over the next three months are expected to be wheat and flour.