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Politics - AFP
US lawmakers target Syria
Thu Apr 10, 2:40 PM ET
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WASHINGTON (AFP) - US lawmakers said they would propose legislation to hold Syria accountable for supporting terrorism and pursuing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

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· Franks Says U.S. Forces Are in Tikrit
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"Now that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s regime is defeated, it is time for America to get serious about Syria," Representative Eliot Engel of New York said in a statement.

The Syria Accountability Act of 2003, sponsored by Engel and his colleague Ileana Ros-Lethinen of Florida, would allow President George W. Bush (news - web sites) to impose sanctions if Damascus fails to meet US demands.

Engel's statement is the latest threat from Washington against Syria in the wake of the apparent defeat of the Iraqi leader.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused Damascus of secretly shipping military aid to Iraq (news - web sites) and helping senior Iraqi leaders flee. Washington also accuses Syria of pursuing banned nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and Damascus is on the US list of regimes supporting terrorism.

In Rome Wednesday, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said Syria should heed the lesson of the US-led conflict in Iraq.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for Syria to forswear the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and as with other governments of the region see if there are not new possibilities in the Middle East peace process," Bolton said.

But US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) has repeatedly insisted Washington has no plans to attack Syria, even as he has warned Damascus not to support terrorism or pursue banned weapons.


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Prev. Story: Bush says Syria must expel Saddam backers (AFP)
Next Story: Senate passes 2.2 trillion-dollar budget; limits Bush tax cut (AFP)

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