Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after participating with other Congressional and relevant Committee leaders in a briefing on Libya by President Obama, Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates and other senior officials.

“Libya is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe that requires urgent action to prevent a massacre. European and Arab governments will take the lead in carrying out the UN Security Council mandate, adopted last night. The first step is to stop the Libyan government from killing its own citizens and prevent this situation from having a destabilizing impact on neighboring countries. The U.S. military will be playing a supportive role in this action. We will not have troops on the ground; instead we are providing strategic support where we have unique capabilities to the Arab and European nations that are taking the lead. The President made the right decision in having the U.S. play that role as part of a broad base international coalition to address this urgent situation.”

“During my conversation with President Obama and his senior advisors today, I asked how much we know about the Libyan Rebels and what international efforts are underway to provide them with arms. I was pleased to hear from Secretary Clinton that there is a great effort being made to better know these rebels. Additionally, it has been made clear to me that the UN Security Council’s resolution which was passed last night lifts the arms embargo previously placed on the Rebels.”