Washington D.C.House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement on the decision for the United States to formally recognize The National Transition Council in Libya as the country’s legitimate government:

“This sends an important message that we stand by the Libyan people as they struggle to free themselves from Gaddafi’s brutal tyranny. Recognition of the TNC is a critical step in preparing for a post-Gaddafi Libya; it provides a focal point for Libya’s transition to a democracy and it may open up the possibility that some of the millions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets held in banks around the world can be used by the Libyan people to fund this effort.

“We will continue our limited support to the NATO effort to remove Gaddafi from power. When he is gone, we will stand ready to assist Libya as we would any fledgling state, but it will be up to the Libyan people to build a new government and a new future for their country.”