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Obama renews Syria sanctions

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama renewed Syria sanctions for a year, noting among other factors its continued backing for terrorist groups.

Obama wrote to the U.S. Congress on Monday saying that he was renewing congressionally mandated sanctions first implemented by President Bush in 2004. The continued sanctions affect trade with Syria and the assets of individuals and entities associated with the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Obama recently lifted another of the sanctions Bush imposed and nominated an ambassador to Syria, part of his outreach to pariah states to induce them to end their rogue status.

However, the White House insists that it maintains a carrot-and-stick policy, and Obama’s letter to Congress made it clear that Syria is far from out of the woods.

"While the Syrian government has made some progress in suppressing networks of foreign fighters bound for Iraq, its actions and policies, including continuing support for terrorist organizations and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," the notice said.

Syria was accused recently of arming Hezbollah with Scud missiles.

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