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U.S. To Slap Sanctions On Syria: Report

InternationalCRAWFORD, United States, March 7 - The United States will soon slap sanctions on Syria, under a 2003 law allowing President George W. Bush to punish the country for alleged support of terrorism and weapons programs.

“It\'s coming,” said a White House official Saturday, March 6, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official would not say what kind of sanctions would be imposed or when they might take effect, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In November 2003, the U.S. Congress approved economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria. Bush signed the legislation, called the “Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act,” into law in late December.

The law demands that Syria end its alleged support for terrorism, halt development of chemical and biological arms and medium and long-range missiles, and withdraw troops it has deployed in Lebanon.

It provides various levels of political and economic levers that can be used against Syria, including reducing the level of diplomatic representation and restricting the movements of Syrian diplomats in the United States.

Washington could also ban the sale of technology meant for civilian use but with military applications, freeze the assets of Syrians in the United States, and bar Syrian aircraft from U.S. airspace.

Leading Senators, who voted down the bill, feared that the measure could later be used to build a case for a military intervention against Syria.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Damascus to learn from the lessons of Saddam Hussein\'s ouster and Libya\'s renunciation of weapons of mass destruction.


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