Statement by Principal
Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on United States Diplomatic and Economic Actions Against
November 14, 1986
President today decided to take specific steps in response to Syria's continued support for
international terrorism. The conviction of Nizer Hindawi in a British court directly implicated the Syrian
Government in the attempted bombing of the El Al airplane. More than 230
Americans and almost 200 passengers of other nationalities were onboard the
flight and would have died had the terrorist operation been successful.
Syria has been on the State
Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism since the list's inception in
1979. As such, controls aimed at restricting the export of goods and technology
that would make a significant contribution to the military potential or would
enhance the terrorist support capabilities of Syria are in effect. Other
measures, such as a cut off of foreign assistance to Syria, have also been
imposed. We believe further steps must be taken to discourage such Syrian
behavior and to express our outrage, and that of the American people, at Syrian
sponsorship of this attack and its long pattern of support for terrorism. We
have been in consultation with our allies on this matter, including members of
Economic Community who announced their own measures on November 10. We welcome
these decisions. These measures and our own actions will send a clear and
unequivocal message to Syria: Its support of
terrorism is unacceptable to the international community of nations.
a result, the President is ordering the following actions:
-- The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation
with the Secretary of State, will expand current controls on exports of any
items controlled for national security purposes, including related technical
data, along with all aircraft, helicopters, and related parts and components.
-- The Secretary of State will terminate the
availability of Export-Import Bank programs for Syria.
-- The Secretary of State will advise Syria of our decision to
terminate the air transport agreement between the United States of
America and Syria.
-- The Secretary of Transportation will
prohibit the sale of tickets in the United States for transportation by
air on Syrian Arab Airlines.
addition to these actions, we have informed U.S. oil companies that we
consider their continued involvement in Syrian oil operations inappropriate
under these circumstances. More vigorous procedures will be applied to Syrian
visa applications. We also have revised an advisory statement on American
travel in Syria to alert citizens to
the potential for terrorist activity originating there. Finally, we are
reducing the staff of our Embassy in Damascus and no high-level
visits between the U.S. and Syria will take place.
measures are intended to convince the Syrian Government that state support of
terrorism will not be tolerated by the civilized world. We will continue to
closely monitor the stituation and take additional
steps as necessary. As long as Syria does not stop terrorism
launched from its own territory, or areas of Lebanon under its effective
control, the security of all states in the region is jeopardized.
Syrian-supported terrorism has introduced an unpredictable element of
instability in the region and risks the danger of open violence there. Syria can play an important
role in a key region of the world, but it cannot expect to be accepted as a
responsible power or treated as one as long as it continues to use terrorism as
an instrument of its foreign policy.