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WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on the President’s speech on U.S. engagement in Libya:

“I support the action taken by the U.S., our NATO partners and the Arab League to prevent the killing of tens of thousands of Libyan civilians.  Now that the U.S. has established the conditions for a no fly zone, I support the expeditious transfer of lead responsibility to NATO and the non-military measures that the administration has taken to sustain pressure on the Libyan regime, such as the freeze of Qaddafi’s assets and international sanctions.

"This burden must be shared more broadly.  To date, only U.A.E. and Qatar from the Arab League have contributed to the military effort. The Arab League has unique and important responsibilities in Libya – I call upon its member countries to play a more active and constructive role by contributing financially to the effort.

"We also need to be honest about the evolving role of the U.S. moving forward.  The U.S. has the most substantial military in NATO and we will likely incur some additional expenditure by participating in this continued engagement.  We need to take a close look at these costs and weigh them against our continued missions in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as our commitments to vital domestic interests.  The Senate has an important oversight role to play and I look forward to pressing administration officials on these issues in the weeks ahead.”


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