President Bush has ordered sanctions be imposed against Syria in response to Syria's support for terrorist groups, its continued military presence in Lebanon, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and its actions undermining efforts to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq.
"Despite many months of diplomatic efforts to convince the Government of Syria to change its behavior, Syria has not taken significant, concrete steps to address the full range of U.S. concerns, which were clearly conveyed by Secretary of State Powell to Syrian President Asad in May 2003," Bush said in a letter to Congress May 11.
The president informed Congress that he has signed an executive order declaring a national emergency to address the threat posed by Syria and invoking the sanctions contained in the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.
A fact sheet released by the White House says the sanctions involve:
-- Prohibiting the export to Syria of any items on the U.S. munitions list, such as arms and defense weapons, ammunition, or items on the U.S. Commerce Department's list of items with dual civilian-military applications, such as certain chemicals, nuclear technology, propulsion equipment, or lasers;
-- Banning the export to Syria of U.S. products other than food or medicine;
-- Prohibiting aircraft owned or controlled by the Syrian government to take off or land in the United States;
-- Requiring U.S. financial institutions to sever correspondent accounts with the Commercial Bank of Syria based on money-laundering concerns; and
-- Freezing the assets of certain Syrian individuals and government entities within U.S. jurisdiction.
Following are the texts of the president's executive order, his letter to Congress and the fact sheet concerning the Syria Accountability Act:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
May 11, 2004