Bush signs law targeting Syria

US President George Bush has signed a legislation that aims to punish Syria for its alleged ties to "terrorists" and purported efforts to obtain nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

    Bush began the process of enacting the law in October

    "Today, I have signed into law HR 1828, the 'Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003,'" Bush said in a statement released by the White House on Friday.

     

    "My approval of the Act does not constitute my adoption of the various statements of policy in the Act as US foreign policy," said Bush.

      

    The measure, which cleared both chambers of the US Congress by overwhelming margins, also calls on Damascus to end its occupation of Lebanon. Bush ended two years of quiet opposition to the measure in early October.

     

    Options

      

    The legislation directs the president to prohibit US exports to Syria of weaponry and so-called "dual-use" technology with both civilian and military applications, but also gives him authority to waive the sanctions.

      

    And it gives the administration a range of options for punishing Damascus, from restricting US exports and business investment to downgrading Washington's diplomatic representation and imposing travel restrictions on Syrian diplomats in the United States.

      

    The law also allows the US government to freeze the Syria's assets in the United States and restrict over-flight rights for Syrian aircraft inside US airspace.

    SOURCE: AFP


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