From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
 

Pelosi Statement in Support of Syria Accountability Act

October 15, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this afternoon on the House floor in support of H.R. 1828, the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, which passed the House by a vote of 398 to 4. Below are her remarks:

"Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the bill's authors, Congressman Eliot Engel and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, as well as the Chairman and ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee, Congressmen Henry Hyde and Tom Lantos, for their leadership in bringing this legislation to the floor. I am pleased to have joined nearly 300 of my colleagues in co-sponsoring this significant measure, which is an effort to encourage Syria to cease its support for terrorism, and to end its occupation of Lebanon.

"Syria’s assistance to terrorist organizations is well known, and the State Department continues to list Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism, in violation of resolutions on that issue by the United Nations Security Council. The Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, which Syria controls, provides a haven and the site of training facilities for Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups. These activities could not occur without the assent of the Syrian government.

"The people of Israel and the cause of peace in the Middle East have been the traditional targets of the groups helped by Syria, but today’s attack on the U.S. convoy in Gaza is a reminder that the United States, and our interests around the world, are foremost on terrorist target lists. Dealing with the problem of terrorism must be our chief priority.

"One of the lessons learned thus far in the war on terrorism is that there can be no success without disrupting the support networks on which terrorists rely. Rhetoric has thus far not been effective in encouraging the Syrian government to cease its assistance to terrorists, and to remove its forces from Lebanon.

"This legislation provides another alternative -- the imposition of sanctions -- that will hopefully convey a stronger message of our seriousness. As proposed in the bill, sanctions are a flexible tool that the President may weigh against other interests of the United States in fashioning a response to whatever the Syrian government may do with respect to the presence of terrorist organizations within the territory it controls.

"The costs of terrorism are well known, in our country and in countries throughout the world. It behooves us to have a range of options to address the threat terrorism poses.

"H.R. 1828 adds to our options with respect to terrorism in the Middle East, and I urge its adoption."

 


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