Great Deals from Dell 120x90

Congress reintroduces sanctions bill on Syria

Monday, April 14, 2003

The House of Representatives will consider a bill to impose new sanctions on Syria.

The legislation calls for a virtual U.S. embargo on Syria unless it expels groups deemed as terrorists and withdraws troops from Lebanon. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate.

The House bill, called the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, was introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen heads the House International Relations subcommittee on the Middle East.

"Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is defeated, it is time for America to get serious about Syria," Engel, a member of the International Relations Committee said. "The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act is the first step to addressing Syria's destabilizing role in the Middle East."

Last year, the Bush administration opposed a similar bill, called the Syrian Accountability Act, arguing that it would harm the campaign against Iraq. Congressional leaders blocked the bill from being debated on the floor of the House or Senate.

On Sunday, President George Bush said Syria possesses chemical weapons and warned that the Assad regime must cooperate with the U.S.-led war against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Bush made it clear that Iraq was the focus of his administration.

"We believe there are chemical weapons in Syria," he said. "Each situation will require a different response. First things first. We're here in Iraq now."

Engel said the bill is meant to express U.S. opposition to what he termed "Syria's continued support of the most deadly terrorist organizations in the world, its development of weapons of mass destruction, and its occupation of Lebanon." He said the new legislation provides the White House the power to impose penalties on Syria.

In the Senate, similar legislation will be introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, and Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican. The bill was introduced as Hizbullah, the main group harbored by Syria, intensified attacks on Israel. Over the weekend, Hizbullah fired air artillery toward Israel three times in a 24-hour period.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts
Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives

See current edition of

Return to World Front Cover