Skip to comments.U.S. committee plans to step up pressure on Syria (Will visit Syria)
Posted on 12/10/2003 8:53:15 AM PST by areafiftyone
MADRID, Dec 10 (Reuters) - A U.S. congressional committee plans to visit Syria to press President Bashar al-Assad to cooperate more in the war on terrorism at a time when Washington is threatening Damascus with sanctions.
Members of the Homeland Security Committee are visiting U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East to thank them and shore up cooperation against extremists.
But committee chairman Christopher Cox said on Wednesday they would also visit Syria "with somewhat a different message" based on the Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, passed by Congress last month.
"Our message to President Assad will be essentially word for word what Congress has enunciated in the Syria Accountability Act," Cox told a news conference in Madrid, first stop on a trip that will also take the group to Italy, Turkey and Israel.
"We look for substantially increased cooperation from Syria when it comes to combating terrorism," said Cox, a California Republican. Assad normally meets U.S. congressional delegations when they visit Damascus.
The act, not yet signed into law by President George W. Bush, asks him to impose sanctions if Syria does not cut ties with Hamas, Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad -- guerrilla groups that Syria says legitimately resist Israeli occupation of Arab land.
The act says it aims to "halt Syrian support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil, and hold Syria accountable for its role in the Middle East."
Should Bush determine Syria is not cooperating, he could impose sanctions, one of which could bar U.S. firms from trading in oil owned by Syrian state-owned entities.
Other sanctions could block U.S. exports to Syria other than food and medicine, bar U.S. firms from investing or operating in Syria, and prevent Syrian diplomats in Washington and at the United Nations in New York from travelling outside a 25-mile (40-km) radius of either city.
Syrian officials have countered that the measure could hurt U.S. oil companies, harm U.S.-Syrian ties and send the wrong signal to the Arab world.
I would support more than santions if they dont comply with the above.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.