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US Blacklists Syrian Outfits Over WMD Charges

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 04, 2007
The US government Thursday put the financial squeeze on three Syrian government organizations which it accused of spreading weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Treasury Department said it was blacklisting Syria's Higher Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Electronics Institute, and the National Standards and Calibration Laboratory.

Under a presidential directive, any US assets held by the three bodies are now frozen and Americans are banned from conducting transactions with them.

"Syria is using official government organizations to develop non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

"We will continue to take action to prevent such state-sponsored WMD proliferators from using the international financial system," he said in a statement.

According to the Treasury, all three are subordinates of the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which was blacklisted by Washington in June 2005.

"SSRC is the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them," the Treasury statement said.

"SSRC also has an overtly promoted civilian research function; however, its activities focus substantively on the development of biological and chemical weapons."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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