in Support of Syria Accountability Act
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.
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.
of Israel and the cause of peace in the Middle East have been the
traditional targets of the groups helped by Syria, but todays
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
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.
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.
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.
1828 adds to our options with respect to terrorism in the Middle
East, and I urge its adoption."