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  Politics
U.S. approves waivers to aid opposition-controlled areas of Syria
12/06/2013   |   11:30 PM | World News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
WASHINGTON, June 12 (KUNA) -- The Obama administration announced on Wednesday that it is taking several "significant steps" to ease U.S. economic sanctions, enable additional relief and reconstruction activities in opposition-controlled areas of Syria, and support the Syrian opposition and the people of Syria.
The actions were taken through the departments of State, Commerce and Treasury.
Secretary of State John Kerry signed a limited waiver of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. The waiver authorizes the export and re-export, subject to case-by-case review, of certain U.S.-origin items to liberated areas of Syria for the benefit of the Syrian people, the State Department announcement said. The waiver will authorize the Department of Commerce to process license applications for export and re-exports of commodities, software and technology, including but not limited to those related to water supply and sanitation; agricultural production and food processing; power generation; oil and gas production; construction and engineering; transportation; and educational infrastructure.
"These items are intended to help address the critical needs of the Syrian people and facilitate reconstruction in liberated areas," the announcement said. The export of food and medicine does not currently require a license, and medical devices are covered under an existing waiver, it noted.
The Treasury Department issued a Statement of Licensing Policy inviting U.
S. citizens to apply for specific licenses that would enable them to participate in certain economic activities in Syria.
The policy specifically focuses on applications by U.S. citizens seeking to engage in oil-related transactions that benefit the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, or its supporters, and transactions involving Syria's agricultural and telecommunications sectors, the announcement said.
Americans wishing to engage in other economic activities in Syria, particularly in liberated areas, that are within the scope of the policy are also invited to apply for a specific license, it said. All license applications will be subject to review to ensure that proposed activities are consistent with U.S. foreign policy goals, it said. Specific licenses will not authorize transactions involving specially designated nationals, it said.
The Treasury Department is also amending Syria general license 11 to authorize the export of services and funds transfers in support of not-for-profit activities to preserve Syria's cultural heritage sites, the announcement said.
"Our priority in Syria is to help the people, ensuring that food and medical supplies can reach Syrians afflicted by the ongoing conflict," it said. "We also recognize that rebuilding Syria's future requires helping preserve the country's cultural heritage, and we want to ensure that sanctions do not impede that important effort." (end) rm.mt KUNA 122330 Jun 13NNNN
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