- Syria–United States relations
Syria-United States relations are
bilateral relationsbetween Syriaand the United States.
U.S.-Syrian relations, severed in 1967, were resumed in June 1974, following the achievement of the Syrian-Israeli disengagement agreement. In 1990-91, Syria cooperated with the United States as a member of the multinational coalition of forces in the
Gulf War. The U.S. and Syria also consulted closely on the Taif Accord, ending the civil warin Lebanon. In 1991, President Asadmade a historic decision to accept then President Bush's invitation to attend a Middle East peace conference and to engage in subsequent bilateral negotiations with Israel. Syria's efforts to secure the release of Western hostages held in Lebanon and its lifting of restrictions on travel by Syrian Jews helped to further improve relations between Syria and the United States. There were several presidential summits; the last one occurred when then- President Clintonmet the late President Hafiz al-Asad in Genevain March 2000. In the aftermath of September 11ththe Syrian Government began limited cooperation with U.S. in the war against terror.
Syria has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of
terrorismsince the list's inception in 1979. Because of its continuing support and safe haven for terrorist organizations, Syria is subject to legislatively mandated penalties, inuding export sanctionsand ineligibility to receive most forms of U.S. aid or to purchase U.S. military equipment. In 1986, the U.S. withdrew its ambassadorand imposed additional administrative sanctions on Syria in response to evidence of direct Syrian involvement in an attempt to blow up an Israeli airplane. A U.S. ambassador returned to Damascusin 1987, partially in response to positive Syrian actions against terrorism such as expelling the Abu NidalOrganization from Syria and helping free an American hostage earlier that year.
However, relations since the February 2005
assassinationof former Lebanese Prime Minister Haririhave considerably deteriorated. Issues of U.S. concern include the Syrian Government's failure to prevent Syria from becoming a major transit point for foreign fighters entering Iraq, its refusal to deport from Syria former Saddamregime elements who are supporting the insurgencyin Iraq, its ongoing interference in Lebanese affairs, its protection of the leadership of Palestinian rejectionist groups in Damascus, its deplorable human rightsrecord, and its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. In May 2004, the Bush administration, pursuant to the provisions of the Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, imposed sanctions on Syria which banned nearly all exports to Syria except food and medicine. In February 2005, in the wake of the Hariri assassination, the U.S. recalled its Ambassador to Washington.
On September 12, 2006 the U.S. Embassy was attacked by four armed assailants with guns, grenades and a car bomb (which failed to detonate). Syrian Security Forces successfully countered the attack, killing all four attackers. Two other Syrians killed during the attack were a government security guard and a passerby. The Syrian Government publicly stated that terrorists had carried out the attack. The U.S. Government has not received an official Syrian Government assessment of the motives or organization behind the attack, but security was upgraded at U.S. facilities. Both the Syrian ambassador to the U.S.,
Imad Moustapha, and President Bashar Asad, however, blamed U.S. foreign policy in the region as contributing to the incident.
Principal U.S. Officials include:
Charge d'Affaires-- Michael Corbin
* Acting Deputy Chief of Mission--William Roebuck
* Head of the Economic/Political Section--Todd Holmstrom
* Head of the Consular Section--Patricia Fietz
* Management Counselor--John Finnegan
* Public Affairs Officer--Chris Eccel
* Defense Attaché--Col. Norman Larson
Foreign relations of Syria
Foreign relations of the United States
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