US Senate passes Syria bill

12 November 2003
The US Senate on 11 November voted overwhelmingly - 89-four - in favour of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. The act, which was passed by the US House of Representatives on 15 October, calls on the government of Syria to 'immediately and unconditionally halt support for terrorism', and to 'stop facilitating transit from Syria to Iraq of individuals, military equipment, and all lethal items', except when permitted by the US or Iraqi authorities. The bill was slightly amended by the senate before being passed, which mean that it must now pass back to the House of Representatives for a revote. If Syria does not comply with US demands, Washington could use the act to impose unilateral sanctions. The White House would have to stop the sale of any dual-use items that could be used to build weapons, and impose at least two out of a list of six possible sanctions (MEED 16:10:03). These are:

1- an export ban,

2- prohibition of US businesses operating in Syria,

3- restrictions on Syrian diplomats in the United States,

4- limits on Syrian airline flights to the United States,

5- a reduction of diplomatic contacts,

6- a freeze on Syrian assets in the US.

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