AIPAC Applauds Implementation of the Syria Accountability Act

Statement by AIPAC President Amy Friedkin and Executive Director Howard Kohr

Washington, D.C.— The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) applauds the Bush Administration's implementation of sanctions on Syria, as mandated by the Syria Accountability Act, which Congress passed last year.

Syria continues to host, support and sponsor international terrorist groups, to develop and stockpile chemical weapons and the missiles to deliver them, remains the occupying power in Lebanon, and continues to support terrorists attacking U.S. and coalition forces working to build democracy in Iraq.

President Bush's implementation of this landmark legislation makes it clear to the Syrian regime that its support for terrorism will no longer be tolerated by the United States. As the legislation demands, and the sanctions signal in concrete terms, Syria must end its occupation of Lebanon, cut ties to terrorist organizations, and stop development of chemical and biological weapons, if it wants to be a member of the international community in good standing

As underscored by the imposition of these sanctions, Syria will now be held accountable for policies that are antithetical to the stability of the region, and to the interest of the U.S. and our allies in the War on Terror.

AIPAC also praises members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives for their overwhelming support for the Syria Accountability Act. The bill passed both chambers thanks to the commitment and leadership of Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The bill was passed by a vote of 408-8 in the House on November 20, 2003 and in the Senate on November 11, 2003, by a vote of 89-4.

Among the measures announced today by the White House:
  • Ban on export of military and dual-use items, except as needed for flight safety and certain national security purposes.
  • Ban on all U.S. exports except for food and medicine and flight safety and certain national security purposes.
  • Ban on all passenger, cargo, and all other flights to and from the United States, except for specific emergencies.
  • Authorizing the Department of the Treasury to block/ freeze assets of Syrian nationals/ entities involved in terrorism, WMD, occupation of Lebanon, and terrorist activities in Iraq.
  • Secretary of Treasury Snow will announce that the Commercial Bank of Syria is a primary money lending concern and will restrict its relations with U.S. banks.