U.S. Cuts Aid to Syria

A Senate-House conference committee considering the Foreign Aid Bill for the fiscal year 1980, which began Oct. 1, reduced today the economic assistance appropriation for Syria to $15 million, as a compromise between zero and $60 million.

The Carter Administration had asked for $60 million and the House cut it to $45 million. However, in the Senate the aid to Syria was eliminated completely on a motion by Sen. William Proxmire (D. Wis.). In the conference, the House contingent suggested that Syria be funded the $15 million to maintain prospects of U.S. Syrian relations, despite increased Syrian-Soviet collaboration in weaponry and diplomacy.

The conference, in addition to reducing the funds for Syria, added a condition that the President must notify the Congress that Syria “is acting in good faith furthering the process of peace initiated by the Camp David accords of which the treaty between Egypt and Israel is the first step.”

Syria is among the Arab states which have rejected the Camp David accords. Nevertheless, U.S. diplomats have urged support for Syria so that liaison between the U.S. and Syria may be continued. Syrian sources said that if Syria does not get any support, it will consider this an affront.

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