US will allocate $5m to finance Syria opposition
WASHINGTON — The United States will allocate $5 million to finance the Syrian opposition, the State Department said yesterday, two days after announcing a similar initiative for the Iranian opposition.

The State Department said in a statement that it will give the money “to accelerate the work of reformers in Syria.” The money would come from the department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, it said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States wants to strengthen its sanctions against Syria and is trying to convince other nations to follow suit. “We intend to use the Syrian Accountability Act and use it to its fullest,” the top US diplomat told Congress, referring to a 2003 law that allows the US administration to impose sanctions against Syria. The law, which provides for a series of six diplomatic, economic and financial sanctions, was partially applied in May 2004 by President George W. Bush, but some sanctions have yet to be used.

“The Syrian Accountability Act is a very important tool,” Rice told the House of Representatives International Relations Committee. “We’ve used a great deal of it,” she recalled.
Posted by: Steve White 2006-02-18