Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement today after the Obama Administration called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down:
“President Assad has brutally violated the human rights of his own people while killing thousands of Syrian citizens and fostering terrorism across his borders. I commend President Obama for sending a clear message to Syria that the Assad regime must respond to the democratic urging of the Syrian people by stepping down.
“Earlier this month in response to the deplorable violence of the Assad regime, I introduced the Syria Sanctions Act of 2011, a bipartisan bill establishing tough sanctions on Syria’s energy sector, which the regime depends on for its economic survival. This type of action is critical to cripple this abhorrent regime, and while I am very pleased the United States has extended sanctions to Syria’s petroleum sector today, I hope our allies around the world follow suit in the near future.
“It is clear that doing business with Syria’s petroleum sector funds the development of nuclear weapons and support for terrorists who have already harmed Americans and our allies. No company should be allowed to put their profits before our safety.”
Earlier this month, Senator Gillibrand joined with Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) to introduce the Syria Sanctions Act of 2011 – new bipartisan legislation that would establish tougher U.S. sanctions against Syria and hold President Bashar al-Assad’s regime accountable for its human rights abuses. Under this bill, the President would be called on to block access to the U.S. financial system, markets, and federal contracts for companies that invest in Syria’s energy sector, purchase the country’s oil, and sell gasoline to Syria.