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Sanctions Coming Against Syria

Senior White House and State Department officials have assured leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that sanctions in compliance with the Syria Accountability Act passed by Congress and signed by the President last December will be imposed on Syria in the coming days.

Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said, "We welcome the Administration's assurances that these sanctions will now be enacted. Syria's continuing negative role in the war on terrorism and its involvement as a major state sponsor of terrorism not only justify this move but make it imperative so that Syrian President Assad not misread America's determination. The sanctions which were postponed for several months are most timely."

Assad continues to back Hezbollah, giving them greater power in Lebanon and aiding Iran in the supply of weapons and support for the terrorist organization. Demascus plays host to scores of terrorist organizations including those engaged in terrorist outrages against citizens of Israel. In addition, Assad has justified the attacks on allied troops in Iraq and has facilitated the movement of terrorists and smugglers across the Syrian border into Iraq.

The United States Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Syria Accountability Act in 2003, which imposes trade sanctions on Syria and provides the President with other possible punitive measures. "We have been told that the exact nature of the sanctions are being finalized and will be announced shortly," said Malcolm Hoenlein. In addition to barring the export of any product that can be used for manufacture of weapons, the law calls for the President to choose two from a list of six other options.

Mr. Hoenlein continued, "President Assad has clearly not gotten the message and, if anything, has compounded his problems. The US has given him every opportunity for a positive engagement, which he has consistently rejected. We hope the sanctions will be effective in bringing about changes in Syrian Policy, but at the very least, they will demonstrate our resolve in pursuing those states that enable and support the global terrorist network.


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