Readout of the President’s call with Prime Minister Berlusconi of Italy

April 25, 2011

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called President Obama today to inform the President of his decision to provide additional military support to Operation Unified Protector by authorizing air-to-ground strikes on Libyan regime targets. The President expressed his great appreciation for Italy’s many critical contributions to NATO-led coalition efforts to enforce United Nations Security Resolutions 1970 and 1973, and acknowledged Prime Minister Berlusconi’s leadership on Libya. The two leaders agreed that additional pressure is necessary to strengthen the civilian protection mission, and the President emphasized that the best way to ensure the safety of the Libyan people is for Qaddafi to leave power. President Obama welcomed Italy’s role in hosting the next meeting of the Libya Contact Group on May 5 in Rome, where the international community will discuss how to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on the Qaddafi regime and provide additional support to the Transitional National Council.