The European Union (EU)’s eagerness to finalize an economic cooperation agreement with Syria has generated concern among US government officials. The EU move could cause a rift between the two international heavy weights, now that the US government has officially approved legislation to impose sanctions against Syria.
Accusing the Arab state of financing terrorists, occupying Lebanon and developing weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the Syria Accountability Act calls for the barring US exports to and investment in Syria and freezing Syrian government assets in the United States.
Spanish King Juan Carlos recently visited Syria, together with a Spanish business delegation, further boosting rapprochement efforts. After meeting with Carlos, Syrian President Bashir Assad pledged to reduce bureaucracy and pave the way for investments, reported Washington Times.
In May, President Bush outlined a plan to create a US-Middle East free trade area (MEFTA) within ten years. The first meeting to discuss the potential FTA, which took place in June, did not include Syria or Libya. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )