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
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
"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
"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)
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